Book Review Guidelines
American Quarterly represents innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that engages with key issues in American studies. Through the publications of reviews of books, exhibitions, and diverse media, the journal seeks to make available the broad range of emergent approaches to American studies. Out of the many books published every year, we select a small number for review because of the importance of their topics, methods, and theories for scholars working within the American studies tradition.
American Quarterly publishes 6-8 book reviews in each issue, with the exception of Special Issues, which have a review essay on the relevant literature. These reviews, which are on both single and multiple books, are designed to provide an in-depth discussion of the current literature of the field of American studies, broadly defined, and to discuss recent books in relation to the key issues of the field. Reviews are 2,500 – 3,000 words for single books, and up to 5,000 for multiple books, including notes.
Book reviews should be addressed to a broad readership of scholars from diverse disciplinary perspectives. They should announce and evaluate important developments and trends in scholarly work about American culture as a means of helping American studies scholars learn effectively from each other. It is our hope that the American Quarterly book review essay section will serve as a dynamic forum in which a wide variety of concerns and changes in the field are discussed in depth through the consideration of new and thought provoking work in the field. Both single and multiple book reviews are published, providing opportunities for close examination of individual new works within broad contexts as well as discussion of clusters of books that represent emerging dialogues.
Reviewers have the responsibility to summarize authors’ arguments fairly and accurately, to locate books under review within a broad scholarly context, and to emphasize the theoretical and methodological implications of any given work for future research in American studies. While reviewers have the right to make normative judgments about books under review, personal attacks, ridicule, and distortion are not acceptable. The primary purpose of the book review section, in our view, is to foster a respectful and rigorous scholarly dialogue, rather than to deliver personal judgments or disagreements.
All book review essays are commissioned. A potential reviewer may propose a book review by sending a one page proposal and a current CV to the book review editor via email. The book review editor will review the proposal in light of reviews already commissioned and may suggest alterations accordingly.
Reviewers should title their review. In addition, each review should cite the title, author, place of publication and publisher, year, number of pages, and price, including both the cloth and soft cover prices if a paperback is available, of each book in the review. For example:
Spaces of Hope. By David Harvey. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 293 pages. $24.95 (cloth). $17.95 (paper).
Reviewers should also include a short biography that will appear on the Contributors page of the journal. For example: Eric Schocket teaches American literature at Hampshire College and writes on class issues in American culture.
Book review text should be in 12-point Times New Roman font. Everything, including footnotes and block quotes, should be double-spaced. Please format your manuscript using Chicago Manual of Style’s 15th edition.
Please see our Author Guidelines for general formatting instructions.
Please send your book review proposal or (if already commissioned) completed review as an attached file in either Word or Word Perfect to Matthew Basso and Laura Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.