Book Review Guidelines

Book Review Editor

Susanne Schmidt, Humboldt University Berlin - [email protected]


History of Social Science book reviews should be 1,000–1,200 words in length unless agreed otherwise with the editor. The ideal HSS book review selects the most important elements of a book and explains why they are relevant. It offers a balanced analysis of the book’s claims, course of action, and value. The book review addresses all or most of the following five aspects:

  • first, what is the book’s topic or subject matter;
  • secondly, what does the book intend to do and what are its main arguments;
  • thirdly, how does it do it—e.g., what is the book’s structure, which sources does it rely on, and how is evidence used;
  • fourth, assessment of the book’s strengths and weaknesses; and
  • finally, the book’s place in the literature—e.g., how does it fit into existing paradigms and which new avenues does it open?


Be fair to the author. If there is a limitation to the book, recognize it but do not make a weakness the main focus of the review.


Direct quotations from the book should be used sparingly and should always cite the page number.

Please cite other works only sparingly and if necessary; for references, include all publication details in parentheses as inline citations rather than as notes (see below).

Edited volumes

Please emphasize core themes and new or fruitful insights, focusing on the contribution of the book as a whole and on the most important chapters. Please do not additively summarize all chapters.

Book review submission checklist

  1. File named: <bookauthor>BY<reviewauthor>.docx
  2. Word limit observed (max. 1,200 words)
  3. Bibliographic information of the work(s) confirmed (see below, “Formatting details”)
  4. Institutional affiliation added
  5. Inline citations used if necessary (no notes or bibliography)
  6. Review submitted to the Book Review Editor

Formatting details

Please follow this general format for the bibliographical information of the book under review and to add your institutional affiliation:

AuthorTitle of Book: Subtitle of Book. 280 pp., figs., index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021. $26 (paper).

Book review text. Book review text. Book review text. Book review text. Book review text. Book review text. Book review text.

Your Name 
Institutional Affiliation


Word count: 1,000–1,200 words. Please adhere to the word count.

File name: Use the following format to name your file, which should be a Word document: <bookauthor>BY<reviewauthor>.docx (e.g., SimmonsBYSchneider.docx).

Citations: Give publication information in parentheses as inline citations, e.g.:

  • for books: “As Elizabeth Lunbeck demonstrated (The Americanization of Narcisissm [Harvard 2014])…” and
  • for articles: “As Christine von Oertzen argued (“Machineries of Data Power: Manual versus Mechanical Census Compilation in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” Osiris 2017, 32).

General points of style

Please refer to the History of Social Science Author Guidelines for full details, including on citation style.

  • The body of the text should be double-spaced, including quotations, using Times New Roman font in 12-point size.
  • Left-align all pages (do not justify) and use 1-inch margins on top and bottom as well as right and left.
  • Place page numbers on each page in the top right corner.


Spelling, punctuation, and other conventions should follow standard U.S. American usage.


When using quotations marks, punctuation (e.g., commas, periods etc.) should be placed inside the closing quotation mark.


EN dash for page and year range, e.g., 3–17, 100–103, 1966–2004.