Finding Book Reviews

Book reviews can provide valuable information on a given topic. They usually contain a summary of the reviewed book's content, provide comparisons with similar works and most importantly feature a critical evaluation of the book's main points. You can use book reviews for your research in numerous ways:

  • Most obviously to find a review of a specific title
  • Explore the works of a particular author
  • Browse reviews on a given topic

Try to read more than one review for a given book as reviews can be highly subjective. A second review might provide a very different perspective.

Academic Titles
A word of caution about book reviews. Many titles, in particular many academic titles are never reviewed. There are many reasons why a particular book does not receive a review: the topic is too specialized, the book does not stand out enough to have received a review, or it just slipped through the cracks.
In addition, book reviews for academic books may not appear until a couple of years after the original publication date (especially reviews published in academic journals).

Listed below are a few of the major databases that include either full text book reviews or citations of book reviews. On the right hand side there are some instructions on how to limit the search to book reviews within the given database. Unless otherwise noted you can search all these databases by author, title or subject / keyword with the limit set to book reviews.

Online Sources

Ebsco Academic Search
[Full Text & Citations]

Choose Advanced Search and then select Book Review under Document Type
[Full Text & Citations]
On the Advanced Search screen use the drop down menu for Document Type towards the bottom of the page under More Search Options. Proquest allows you to search specifically for a book review, film review, arts or exhibit review, etc.

[Full Text]

On the Advanced Search screen under "Limit to" check the box next to Review.
America History & Life and
Historical Abstracts
From the Advanced Search Screen choose Book Review under Document Type.
Project Muse
[Full Text]

Using the Advanced Article Search screen, choose Reviews Only under Type of Content.

Art Index
[Citations and selected Full Text]
From the Advanced Search screen, choose Book Review under Document Type.
From the Advanced Search screen choose "Review - Book" under Document Type.
[Full Text & Citations]
From the Advanced Search screen choose "Book Review" under Publication Type.

Ask for assistance at the reference desk for finding book reviews in databases not listed above. However, please note that not all databases have this limit option.

Print Sources
Online sources cover only current dates, the exception being JSTOR. To find older reviews you will need to consult one of the following print indexes.


  • Book Review Digest
    Available in the reference collection on the 4th floor from 1906 through 2002. Call Nr. REF Z1219 .C96 2002. Search by author, title, or browse by subject.
  • Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
    Available in the reference collection from 1890 through 1997 (for current dates see online access above). Call Nr. REF AI3 .R48. Search by author, title, or browse by subject.

Full Text

  • New York Times Book Review
    Current editions available through ProQuest. For pre-1997 search the Sunday Editions of the New York Times on microfilm: Use the print New York Times Index to locate relevant reviews.
  • New York Review of Books
    Available in print and pre-1994 on microfilm.
  • Times Literary Supplement / TLS
    Available on microfilm from 1902-1968 (as Times Literary Supplement), and from 1969 through 2008.
Update 6/22/09