Pitfalls of academic book reviews: Opinion

January 13, 2021
Academic book reviews, which are supposed to be utilitarian, have become bland and too “nice,” writes Paul Musgrave. In the article, Musgrave critiques the standard book review as a dull and unbeneficial activity. The author describes reading reviews in a journal and noting that almost every book was said to be exceptional in some way, while reviewers avoided any serious critique of the texts. Musgrave argues that book reviews that do not act as evaluation tools are problematic. Finally, the author suggests some ways journals can improve the quality of reviews through allowing longer review essays, allowing authors to engage with multiple books, and moving standard reviews to review websites. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)