BOOK: The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America, Walker, Spoh

BOOK: The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America, Walker,
Spohn, and Delone, Fifth – Sixth Edition
A book review is a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality
meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling. It should focus on the book’s
purpose, content, and authority. A critical book review is not a book report or a summary.
Strengths and weaknesses of the material are analyzed in a reaction paper. It should
include a statement of what the author has tried to do, evaluate how well (in the opinion
of the reviewer) the author has succeeded, and presents evidence to support this
evaluation.
Readers sometimes confuse book reviews with book reports. However, the two are
not identical. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work~ their focus is
primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, and/or main idea of the
work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment. By contrast, book reviews are
most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works:
magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. The former is descriptive while the latter is a critical analysis.
The following format recommends an academic direction in writing a critical
review.
Step One:
A. Write a statement giving essential information about the book. You must
provide the bibliographic and publication information. At the top of the review,
include author’s name, title, and the place of publication, publisher, and date of
publication. Book titles should be in italics or underlined.
B. Does the author provide any revealing information about the text in the preface
/introduction? What judgments or preconceptions does the author provide?
Step Two:
A. State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Sometimes authors state their
purpose in the preface or the first chapter. When they do not, you may arrive at
an understanding of the book’s purpose by asking yourself this question.
1. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other
subject?
2. From what point of view is the work written?
3. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?
B. State the theme and the thesis of the book.
1. Theme: The theme is the subject or topic. It is not necessarily the title,
and it is usually not expressed as a complete sentence. It expresses a specific
phase of the general subject matter.
2. Thesis: The thesis is an author’s generalization about the theme,
Example
Title: We had it Made
General Subject Matter: Religious Intolerance
Theme: The effects of religious intolerance on a small town
Thesis: Religious intolerance, a sickness of individuals,
contaminates an entire social group.
3. As you do, you may very well need to explain how the author presents his material. In other words, does the author organize the book topically or chronologically?
Step Three:
A. Summarize the main points or conclusions the author makes to prove his thesis.
Your summary should contain enough detail to be informative and do justice to
the author. However, there is no need to recopy the whole book….your instructor has read the book!
1. How well did the author prove his thesis? Evaluate this based on
completeness, factual presentation or documentation, the logic of his
conclusions and arguments, and style. The most important element about a
book review to remember is that it is a commentary, not just a summary.
2.What evidence is cited? Did the author reveal any bias toward his topic, per
se, or any historical leader in this book.
B. Explain the significance of this book. In other words, what contribution does this
book make to the study of its subject? Exactly what makes the book significant?
Is its approach, conclusions or discoveries? How does the knowledge contained
in this book compare with that offered in your textbook .
1. How is the book related to the course? What are your reactions? Did the
book enhance your understanding of the issues? Be as direct as possible.
2.What has the author omitted or what problems, did he leave unsolved?
What specific points are not convincing? Respond to the author’s opinions.
Which ones do you agree or disagree with? Explain.
Step Four:
A. Your review should conclude with your personal observations.
1. Has the book challenged you intellectually, increasing your
Knowledge, raising new questions, and/or presenting the material in
a novel or provocative manner? On the other hand, does the author
simply rehash what everyone already knows?
2. How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on
the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book?
3. Let the reader know whether or not the book is worth reading and
why. In other words, why should anyone read it?
B. Final Word.
1. You must remember that book reviews are not just summaries!
2. Like other forms of writing, book reviews present an extended
argument (a thesis) that is effectively organized and supported by
evidence.
3. Your understanding and critique are equally (if not more)
important as the basic information that you convey about the book.
4. Just as in a research paper, your ideas must emerge clearly and
persuasively.
5. After you have completed your review, be sure to proofread it
carefully for errors and typos. Double-check your bibliographic
heading-title, author, publisher, and pages-for accuracy and correct
spelling as well.
6. Writing is one of the most important skills acquired in college.
Furthermore, I have to read these book reviews. Please give it your
best efforts.
List of Topics and Sub-Modules for Book Review Format

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