Book Reviews

What is a Book Review?

A book review is an article that describes and evaluates a book’s content. For research purposes, you will need scholarly reviews which are longer and more in-depth than non-scholarly reviews.

Finding a Book Review, you need to know:

  • the title and/or author of the book you need to review
  • the date of publication of the book you need to review

This information can be found in the library catalogue.

Where do I look for Book Reviews?

Below is a list of print and electronic resources that contain book reviews. Once you know the year of publication, check the indexes for volumes covering that year, as well as one and two years afterwards. For example: For a book published in 1973, check the indexes for 1973, 1974 and 1975.

How Book Review Indexes Work?

Book review indexes in print list citations for reviews, but do not include the reviews themselves. Here is a typical citation for King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild:

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost
For Aff - v78 - Mr '99 - p158 [51-500]

In this example, For Aff is the abbreviation (see below) for Foreign Affairs, a journal that published a review of King Leopold’s Ghost in volume 78, in March 1999, on page 158. The numbers in square brackets indicate the approximate length of the review, this one is between 51 and 500 words long.


  • “Book Review Index” has a listing of all abbreviations and what they mean inside the front cover. All other sources will contain a similar listing if they use abbreviations. Ask at the Reference & Research Desk for assistance.

Here are some Print Sources for Book Reviews at the U of T Mississauga Library:

Scholarly Sources in Print:

Book Review Index (1965 – Current Issues)
Z 1035 .A1B55 ERIN 1998 REF
Arranged alphabetically by author, includes a title index. The largest source for book reviews in print at the U of T Mississauga library.

Book Review Digest (1905 – Current Issues)
Z 1219 .B6 REF
Covers older materials and includes excerpts from reviews.

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974
Z 1035 .A1C6 1982 ERIN REF

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974
Z 1035 .A1C64 1979 ERIN REF
Covers older materials and journals in history, political science and sociology.

An Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities, 1961-1990
AZ 221 .I58 ERIN REF

Non-Scholarly Sources in Print (Most useful for librarians, teachers, and booksellers):

Canadian Book Review Annual
Z 1035 A1 C32 REF

Finding Book Reviews Using Online E-Indexes:

You can find reviews using many of the online e-indexes available through U of T Electronic Resources. Some of the most commonly used indexes are listed below. Most of these indexes will provide you with citation information, some will contain full-text reviews.

Web of Science
Science, Social Science, Arts and Humanities

  • Choose 'General Search'. Scroll down to the section entitled 'Restrict search by languages and document types:' and select 'Book Review' as document type.

America: History and Life
Covers: History of United States and Canada from prehistory to present

  • Enter "Book Review" as document type.

Historical Abstracts
Covers: International history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada)

  • Enter "Book Review" as document type.

Expanded Academic ASAP
Covers : Arts, humanities, social science and science coverage in a range of scholarly journals, newspapers and popular magazines.

  • Choose keyword search, enter words from the title of your book AND ‘review’ (eg. Search: King Leopold and review)

Locating the Actual Book Review from a Citation

Once you have a citation, you next need to determine if U of T carries the journal you need by searching the catalogue for the journal title.