The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker
Author’s Background—Information on the author’s background can be found in any number of biographical references in the library. It is important to establish the credentials of the author and to point out conditioning influences that might lead to a biased account (for example, factors of nationality, race, or religion). Scope of the Book—This refers to how broadly or narrowly the author treats his subject. The chronological time period and the topics included are two important aspects, but it is also helpful to know the range of material explored (e.g., economic, political, religious, military, social, etc.). For example, if a biography is being reviewed, did the author examine just the individual’s professional career or private life as well?Evaluation of the Author’s Organization, Research, Style and Objectivity—The reviewer should address the issues of organization of material and subject, amount and quality of research, writing style (both in regard to readability and clarity of arguments) and objectivity of author. This evaluation involves positive and negative assessments if they are applicable. Critical Assessment of the Book—This section is the heart of an effective review and should consume most of the space. You must critically analyze the book and evaluate the author’s basic thesis, theme, argument, or point of view. What message or information was the author trying to convey? What viewpoint or perspective did he bring to the subject? You need to state this perspective and to demonstrate clearly how the author developed it throughout the book by using examples from the book. Do NOT just summarize the book! Commentary and analysis belong in reviews, not just a listing of what each chapter covers. Finally, did the author present his theme or perspective in a convincing manner and were his objectives achieved? Why or why not?Reviewer’s Recommendation—While this does include subjective judgements, the reviewer should conclude with a scholarly evaluation of the book. What contribution does the work make to the field of study or knowledge in the area? Or does it? Is the work recommended reading? Why or why not? Who should read the book? (Note: Do NOT use first person in formal writing!)
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