Apr 12

History Book Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

Book reviews were a hobby of the best educated, most prestigious people in the past. The introduction of book reviewing in the academics and the invention of the Internet broadened this very limited circle of reviewers, making everyone a potential critic of a book they read. Everyone now has a shot to make a difference by writing a book review – whether it is for the seller trying to sell a good book, or readers looking for the best purchase decision. What you write in your book review will influence its reader, one way or the other.

The Do’s and Don’ts of History Book Review Writing

The guide on how to write a book review always starts with the things you MUST do during the writing process, but also includes a small list of things you should omit to avoid ruining your paper.


  • Define the period and time the book covers

History book reviews should include a very exact timeframe in which the story unravels. Many history books capture different periods, so make sure to write a review that explains the book chronologically.

  • Introduce your point of view

Every book review should include a point of view, which means that your first goal is to establish a strong opinion about the story of the writer, and introduce it to the reader. Do you like the author’s writing and story? Do you believe he is right or wrong? What would you do differently?

  • Mention the sources

In a case of a book review, your key source is the book itself. You can gather some information from other reviews and sources, but the center of your attention should be focused on reviewing the book itself. Mention the sources the author used in the book, and check for patterns of sources to establish its validity.

  • Provide information about the writer

The book hasn’t written itself, and the biggest mistake you can make is forget about the author. If you focus too much on the book and fail to investigate about the writer, you can miss important details. In some cases, authors are related to parts of the book.

  • Be very specific

We already said you should mention your likes or dislikes of the books, but this is not enough. This review should influence others and share your opinion on the book you were reading, so be as specific as possible.

  • Consider the audience

The audience of a history book review are people who read this genre, and they have specific knowledge and expectations from you as the writer. You are not looking at a general reader, but one that is interested in historical aspects and stories, and wants to know how this author’s writing presented them in his or her book.


  • Don’t exaggerate with the writing

A book review should be exactly that – a short evaluation of a book you read. Do not go on too long. If the reader wanted to know every little detail about the book, they would read it without checking your review first.

  • Don’t summarize the book

A history book review is a representation of your opinions about the book. This is not the time to summarize the entire book or share things the reader should learn while doing the actual reading. Your book review should consist of a summary that proves your points and only that.

  • Don’t be nasty or trash the book

Even if the book is not what you expected it to be, do not trash it. You may find some misrepresentations since after all, history books are based on facts and real data. If you find such things, you can mention them, but do not be nasty about it.

Book reviews can be really fun to write, especially if you are interested in the subject and topic of the book. If you like history, this will be a very pleasant experience, and an opportunity to share your opinions with others.

Contributors Bio

Contributor photo Lona Glenn
Los Angeles
Lona graduated from Los Angeles City College. While being a lecturer in several high school institutions Lona founded an online educational project Tutorsclass.Read more
Contributor photo Maria Castle
Davis, CA
I studied education and currently work as a tutor for school-age children. I've worked as a volunteer in many different international social projects and as a camp counselor every summer.Read more

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