This guide is intended to help Harvard students and faculty find book reviews. Book reviews are published in general/popular magazines (e.g., Newsweek), scholarly journals (e.g., British Journal for the History of Science), and in book review periodicals (New York Review of Books). The reviews may be brief summaries or long scholarly evaluations.
Find them by consulting periodical indexes and book review indexes. This guide lists some of the major general indexes which include book reviews. Many periodical indexes index book reviews; others do not. See Finding Articles in General and Popular Periodicals (North America and Western Europe) for general periodical indexes which may index book reviews. Research guides to specialized periodical indexes are listed in the Introduction to Finding Articles in General and Popular Periodicals (North America and Western Europe).
Online resources are available through Harvard Library (Harvard ID and PIN required) unless otherwise indicated.
If you want scholarly evaluative book reviews, you may wish to omit reviews in: American Libraries, Booklist, Choice, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly. These reviews do provide good short statements of the subjects of books.
Academic Search Premier (EBSCOHost) coverage is, largely, from the 1980s to the present. For book reviews enter author and title words. Thus, "Buell and imagination" for reviews of Lawrence Buell's The Environmental Imagination. Results can be limited to book reviews by using the Document Type limitation, but this may exclude some articles of interest, e.g., interviews with the author, which are not strictly speaking book reviews.
Citation Indexes (Web of Science). Choose General Search. You may enter the authors last name and a word or words from the title. Thus for W. G. Sebald's Vertigo, search Sebald and Vertigo. You may limit to Book Reviews using "Restrict search by languages and document types:". A guide is available: Searching the Citation Indexes (Web of Science). The Web of Science comprises three indexes: Science Citation Index, (1900- ), Social Sciences Citation Index (1956- ) and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1975- ). The indexed journals are listed by subject categories in the Thomson Master Journal List.
Biography in Context. Many of the articles under the Magazine Articles tab are book reviews. Contemporary Authors Online (Narrative Biographies tab) lists book reviews under the heading "Periodicals". There is a glych in the connection; hit the link once and you get a refusal to connect, hit it again and it works.
Book review index, 1965-
LOCATION: Gutman Education: Ref Index Z1035.A1 B6
LOCATION: Widener: RR 675.3
H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences (1994- ) offers online reviews of academic books.
JSTOR contains full text book reviews for over 200 journals in many subjects. Journals are covered from their date of inception to around 5 years ago. Choose Search JSTOR, then enter search in the form <rt:book title ra:book author>. Thus, for MacArthur and Wilson's Theory of Island Biogeographysearch: ra:MacArthur rt:biogeography.
Periodicals Index Online includes several thousand general/humanities/social sciences journals indexed from their dates of inception to 1995.