How do I write a book review? I am a technician in Pakistan Air Force base Chaklala. I am expert in my technical profession. But don't have any experience on writing book reviews or documentary work. I am ordered by my officer commanding to write a book review and submit in-time otherwise I will be given explanation letter. Despite I am a very good professional in technical skills, my promotion will be stopped if I fail to submit in-time. Kindly advise me how to accomplish this work?

Expert Answers

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Let me take the worry out of your task.  There are clear elements that a book review should contain:

  1. First, a one-sentence statement of the book’s subject, type, and level of expertise, such as: “This manual for maintaining a jet engine is for advanced mechanics.”
  2. Next, there should be a carefully worded general opinion, such as: “The clearly worded steps make it a very useful field guide, and the accompanying illustrations are professional and accurate.” Notice that it is not necessary to say your approval directly.  No-one respects an overenthusiastic endorsement, such as: “This is the greatest book I’ve ever read!”
  3. Give some details about what the potential reader will find, such as: “Besides the stet-by-step instructions and the full-color illustrations, the author has provided close-up photographs of jet engine types (in chronological order), a valuable glossary of terms, a strong bibliography, and a thorough index.”
  4. If comfortable doing so, place the book’s value, accuracy, up-to-dateness, etc. in the field: “one of the best”, “adds nothing new”, “brings the field up to the minute”, outdated”, "a welcome modernization", etc.
  5. If available, add a sentence about the author’s credentials: “The author, chief engineer at Boeing, is well known for his work on the commercial airlines’ maintenance guidelines approved by the FAA.”
  6. Finally, give a statement of recommendation, tepid or warm:  “This reviewer considers this manual as must-read for all field engineers.” Do not feel it is necessary to say something bad, but if there is a serious shortcoming, point it out: "The organization of the material is confusing at times."


General guidelines:

1.      Use complete sentences with strong verbs; avoid “to be” verbs:  “This manual follows the …”, not “this manual is…” Sound like you are an expert in this field.

2.      Ask yourself what you would want to know about this book if you had heard about it from someone else.

3.      This is nonfictional, factual writing; avoid hyperbole, poetic phrasing, going off the subject, etc.

Good luck on your promotion.  E-mail me if I can fill in anything.  Wordprof


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