Book Reviews

Q. How are books selected for the book review section?

A. Timeliness of publication, availability of reviewers, and space in the JSCE determine the publication of book reviews. Books  must either be authored by members of the SCE, SJE, or SSME or must have been formally recommended for review by a unit of the SCE (an Interest or Working Group).

Book Review Editor, Tallessyn Grenfell-Lee, will have the publishers send the books directly to the reviewers. Please do not send books to the Book Review Editor. (SCE members must submit their own new books for the “Breakfast with an Author” session at the Annual Meeting by using the appropriate form, also available online.)

Unsolicited book reviews are not accepted.

Q. If I am interested in reviewing books, whom should I contact?
A. When the next round of books are available to review an online form will be available to indicate your interest.

Q. What is the ideal length of a book review?
A. A review of one book should not exceed 600 words. On occasion the Book Review Editor will request a review of more than one book as a result of two or three books on a closely related subject; such reviews should not exceed 1200 words, with exceptions up to 1500 words.

Q. When are reviews due to the Book Review Editor?
A. The Book Review Editor will provide a due date along with the style guide and book to the reviewer. Ordinarily, reviews should be sent to the Book Review Editor by March 1 for inclusion in the Fall/Winter issue of the JSCE and September 1 for the Spring/Summer issue. However, reviews may be sent to the Book Review Editor throughout the year.

Q. What style does the JSCE recommend for book reviews?
A. The note that begins the review should take the following form:
God, Evil, and Innocent Suffering: A Theological Reflection. By John E. Thiel. New York: Crossroad, 2002. 179 pp. $19.95.

As for the review itself:
The typical review of a single work has 500-600 words. This length provides sufficient opportunity for a clear and decidedly brief summary of the thesis of the book, the evidence and arguments supporting that thesis, and an evaluation of the argumentation. The evaluation should be fair and balanced, pointing out both the strengths and the weaknesses of the argument. Especially important is an evaluation of the contribution, if any, to scholarship in this area of the field of ethics, and of the audience, if any, that would benefit from this book. How does this book fit into current work in the field? To what extent does it engage recent work in the field? How narrow or broad are the disciplinary limits from which the author approaches the topic?

Reviews of two books have 1000-1250 words and three books have 1500 words. They should not simply review the books serially, but should include some degree of contrast or comparison. Presumably there was some reason for assigning them together, and this should be addressed, whether it proved felicitous or not.

Completed reviews should be sent via electronic media to the Book Review Editor.

Tallessyn Grenfell-Lee