Searching for Reviews of History Books
This library guide will cover the process of searching for book reviews, with an emphasis on history books. More specifically, the guide will discuss which types of books are most likely to have been widely reviewed, describe library databases which can be used to help find reviews, discuss available print sources which index reviews, and list journals which regularly publish reviews of history books.
Selecting a Reviewed Book
One of the first things to keep in mind before beginning the process of searching for a book review on any topic is to be aware that not all books are reviewed, and others may only have one or two reviews. When selecting a title for an assignment which requires finding a review, it would be good to consider choosing a book that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- Select a book from a well known publisher in the field.
- Select a book from a university press.
- Select a book written by a well known author or historian.
- Select a book that is a classic or standard in a field of study.
- Select a book published either in the U.S., Canada or Great Britain.
- Select a book which was published more than a year ago, since it generally takes a year or more for reviews to be published.
If you have been assigned a book, as opposed to making your own selection, the above suggestions may be of little help. However, whether you have been assigned a book or have selected one that does not seem to fit any of the above suggestions, the task of finding a book review is still quite feasible.
The following library databases can be useful in helping to find book reviews:
- America: History & Life
1. To search for a book review by the title of the book, click on the "Advanced" search button (see below):
2. Place a check mark in the box marked "Book Reviews." Next, type the title of the book in the box marked "Titles / Translations" (see below).
- OmniFile Full Text Mega
When searching for book reviews on Wilson Web (Omnifile), be sure to change the "All-Smart Search" selection in the right hand box to read ""Books Reviewed". Then, enter the name of the author or book title in the search box to the right of the "Books Reviewed" selection (see below).
The NSU Library owns a number of print resources which index history book reviews, including:
- Book Review Digest (1905-present)
- Book Review Index (1965-present)
- Index to Book Reviews in Historical Periodicals (1972-1977)
When using any book review index it is useful to keep in mind that review articles generally are indexed after the book has been on the market for a while. A book published in 1965 may not be reviewed or indexed until 1966, or even later. Therefore, when using an index to find a review for a book published in 1965, you may need to check the indexes for 1965, 1966, or possibly 1967 to find a citation.
Selected History Journals Which Publish Book Reviews
Sometimes it is difficult to find a specific review in a book review index. An additional option is to check the annual and cumulative indexes accompanying the paper history journals. Or, if it is a fairly recently published book, say one that was published a year or two ago, scanning the unbound issues of current and recent history journals might prove productive. Below is a selected list of history journals which typically include book reviews in each issue. All of these journals are owned by the NSU Library.
- American Historical Review (Per. E 171 .A57)
- Arkansas Historical Quarterly (Per. F 406 .A6)
- Chronicles of Oklahoma (Per. F 691 .C55)
- Journal of American History (Per. E 171 .J8)
- Journal of Southern History (Per. F 206 .J68)
- Journal of the West (Per. F 591 .J65)
- Kansas History (Per. F 676 .K177)
- Mississippi Valley Historical Review (Per. E 171 .J8)
- Missouri Historical Review (Per. F 461 .M59)
- New England Quarterly (Per. F 1 .N62)
- New Mexico Historical Review (Per. F 791 .N65)
- Pacific Historical Review (Per. F 851 .P18)
- Panhandle-Plains Historical Review (Per. F 381 .P2)
- Red River Valley Historical Review (Per. F 591 .R417)
- Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Per. F 381 .T45)
- Western Historical Quarterly (Per. F 591 .W464)
- William and Mary Quarterly (Per. F 221 .W71)
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Last Updated: 04/08/2014