“Exodus and Revolution”, by Michael Walzer
Reading is one of the chief avenues for learning. Thus, achieving competence in the art of critical reading is a necessity for the educated person. The primary goal of critical evaluation is a fair and balanced review of a book’s worth. It should help a person, who has not read the book, to gain a basic understanding of the essential content of the text and to recognize its strengths and weaknesses.
The review should fall in the range of 1200-1500 words.
A critical book review should encompass the following elements:
Full bibliographic citation. E.g., Frank Moore Cross. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of Israelite Religion. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973.
Biographical information about the author. Who is the author? What are her or his qualifications to write such a book? At minimum, glean information from the book jacket.
Summarize the content of the book. Do more than give chapter titles, sub-heading, etc. Succinctly state the thesis/purpose of the book and describe the development of the argument. This section will tend to be the longest in the review, but should comprise no more than 40-50% of the paper. Make sure that you save space for a substantive analysis (next category)
Analysis. This is the “meat” of your paper. How did the author do? Did she support her thesis? What are the strengths of the argument presented in the book? What are the weaknesses? Give evidence to support your assessment. You may find it beneficial to read other reviews of the book in scholarly journals. If you use such resources, list them on a bibliography page at the end of the review. Such book reviews are accessible through the library’s restricted databases (ATLA).
Conclusion. Do you recommend this book? Why or why not. This should be more than “This is a good book; I recommend it.” Present your final assessment for or against the book.