Environmental History History 379 Spring 2024Critical Book ReviewExpectations for a Critical Book Review in an

Environmental History

History 379

Spring 2024

Critical Book Review

Expectations for a Critical Book Review in an Upper-Division History Class

1. Understanding of the Book: Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the book’s content, including its main arguments, themes, and the author’s perspective.

2. Historical Context: Analyze the book within its historical context. Discuss how the book relates to or contributes to historical scholarship.

3. Critical Analysis: Provide a critical analysis of the book. This should include an evaluation of the author’s arguments, use of evidence, and methodology. Discuss any biases or assumptions you identify.

4. Writing Quality: The review should be well-written, clear, and concise. It should follow the appropriate academic writing conventions, including proper citation of sources.

5. Originality: Your review should offer an original perspective. Avoid summarizing the book; focus on providing your analysis and insights.

6. Structure: The review should have a clear structure, including an introduction that provides an overview of the book and the review, a main body that discusses the book in detail, and a conclusion that summarizes your evaluation.

7. Length: The review should be between 1500 – 2300 words (3 – 5 pages). However, the exact length may vary based on the book’s complexity and the assignment guidelines.

8. References: All sources, including the reviewed book, should be properly cited using the appropriate citation style (e.g., Chicago).

9. Professionalism: The review should maintain a professional tone. While it’s important to provide a critical analysis, avoid overly harsh or unjustified criticism.

10. Timeliness: The review should be submitted by the assigned due date. Late submissions may not be accepted or could result in a reduced grade.

Remember, the goal of a book review is not just to summarize the book but to engage with it critically and thoughtfully. Happy reviewing!



Excellent (A)

Good (B)

Satisfactory (C)

Needs Improvement (D-F)

Understanding of the Book

Demonstrates excellent understanding of the book’s content and purpose

Demonstrates good understanding with minor inaccuracies

Demonstrates satisfactory understanding with some inaccuracies

Demonstrates poor understanding with significant inaccuracies


Provides a thorough and insightful analysis of the book’s arguments and themes

Provides a good analysis with minor gaps

Provides a satisfactory analysis with some gaps

Provides a poor analysis with significant gaps

Critical Evaluation

Provides a balanced and thoughtful evaluation of the book’s strengths and weaknesses

Provides a good evaluation with minor oversights

Provides a satisfactory evaluation with some oversights

Provides a poor evaluation with significant oversights

Writing Quality

Writing is clear, organized, and free of errors – academically written (professionally written)

Writing is mostly clear and organized with minor errors

Writing is satisfactory but has some errors and organizational issues

Writing is unclear, disorganized, and has significant errors


All sources are properly cited with no errors

Most sources are properly cited with minor errors

Some sources are properly cited but with some errors

Sources are improperly cited with significant errors



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