Elements of a Book Critique
The Books information/bibliographic entry.
• Author, Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, copyright date.
The Author’s biographical information.
• Provide the author’s full name. If he is using a pseudonym, you may want to add his real name.
• Give information as to his educational background including the schools and universities where he attended; academic positions held through the years; his areas of specialization; and what other leadership roles he was and is involved.
• shed light on possible influences that affected his assumptions and conclusion. This may include denominational biases and individuals/scholars who has shaped and influenced his thoughts.
• Remember that the purpose for this section of the paper is to establish authority in the topic that he had written about… which is the book you are reading.
A General Summary.
• Present the main points of the book with the idea in mind that the one reading your work has read the book yet. (Check the basic information on writing a summary.)
• Give a short description of the issues it is addressing, its scope and limitations, and the way it is organized.
The Author’s Purpose.
• Identify what the writer wants to accomplish with this book and to whom it is addressed.
The Author’s Thesis and Theme/s.
• Identify and explain the author’s thesis and pay attention to the author’s recurring themes.
The Author’s Sources.
• Take a quick look at the bibliographical list the author used in writing the book.
• Identify the types of sources that are utilized: the primary as well as secondary sources. Pay attention to the dates of publication: notice how old or recent they are.
• Check the author’s biases based on the author’s theological inclinations and find out what are the ways he dealt with those biases.
• Be able to asses if the author was able to make a fair presentation of opposing ideas or conflicting views.
• Acknowledge his careful examination of other important relevant professions reviews that are relevant.
The Author’s Stands on Controversial Issues.
• Sometimes, the author will make this easy for you, by describing the various positions other writers have taken on the topic, and then explaining his or her position on the issue.
• Consult professional reviews that are available on line that can somehow help you see how the author’s view on some controversial issues is similar or different from other writers who have written on the same topic.
• from these professional reviews, discern what is reasonable and do not to simply believe or take the side of professional reviewers.
• Make sure you provide footnote or bibliographic entries for any other materials used.
The quality of the book.
• Evaluate the presentation of the book: the writing style, the organization of topics, and the scholarly paraphernalia that are added such as appendices, maps, glossaries, images, etc.