General Information:

The editor requests that the reviewer be evaluative as well as descriptive of the contents of the book.  It is suggested that reviews open with a discussion of the topic addressed by the book and that the reviewer identify the disciplinary perspective of the author. Herbert Jacob created the Review to serve his discipline, and the APSA Law and Courts Section manages and supports the Review.<

Consequently, the editor encourages reviewers to devote special attention to the political assumptions and discussions in the book under review.  Please also consider attention to the significance of the book in light of the methodologies and approaches to the scholarly analysis or teaching of law and courts as applied by political scientists.

Among other topics and issues, the reviewer might wish to examine whether . . .

  • the book has a clear thesis;
  • the assumptions and perspective of the author are appropriate and make sense;
  • the book utilizes an appropriate methodology;
  • sources are appropriate and optimally exploited;
  • the book is well organized and clearly written;
  • it serves its intended audience well.


Reviews of between 1,200 and 1,500 words are usual.  They can be shorter or longer, if warranted.  If a book is a collection of articles, longer reviews might be especially necessary.  The review should be concisely written and in a lively style.  It is important to be fair to the author.

Be careful not to ascribe motives unless they are explicitly admitted, and avoid the temptation of wishing that a different book had been written.  Be fair, temperate and if possible, constructive, in your critique.  However, do not pull your punches.  If the book has shortcomings, expose them.  Organize your review as an essay that will stand on its own.

If, after receiving the book, you think the book does not merit a review, please immediately get in touch with the editor.  Professional ethics require (in the words of the American Sociological Association) that you not review a book when an overriding sense of personal obligation, competition, or enmity exists.   Likewise, if you find you do not have time to do the review after all, contact the editor immediately so that the book can be reassigned.  Otherwise, the book may never be reviewed.



Please set up the heading as follows:

HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA: CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES, by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim and Francis M. Deng (eds). Washington : The Brookings Institution, 1990.  399pp.  Cloth $24.95.  ISBN: 0-412-03458-X.  Paper $12.95.  ISBN: 0-412-03456-8.

Reviewed by James Madison, Department of Political Science, The Federalist University . Email: your e-mail address. [Do not give your e-mail address if you do not wish it distributed with your review].

Feel free to refer to other works in your review.  If you use such references, use the style of the American Political Science Review, embedding the reference in the text (e.g., An-Naim and Deng 1990) and placing the full citation at the end.  Please avoid footnotes entirely, and do not number pages.  Please place titles in UPPER case, rather than italics, and do not use underlining.


The Review staff prefers to receive your review as an attachment to an e-mail message in standard wordprocessor format (eg, MSWord, Wordperfect, or .rtf format) addressed to parker {at} truman•edu, or if necessary you may send the review in the body of an ordinary e-mail message.  

The editor reserves the right to edit reviews for style, conciseness, consistency, punctuation, and racist or sexist language.  You will receive an edited version of your review to revise and approve before publication.  Reviewers retain copyright to their reviews.