Book Review Guidelines

Instructions for Book Reviews

Please note that a book review is not a book report. A book report is almost wholly descriptive and usually contains little more than an expanded table of contents. A book review, on the other hand, is a critical evaluation of the contents of a book based on the reviewer's familiarity with the subject matter considered in the book. Professional reviews are presented in the major anthropology journals and students are advised to read professional reviews before writing their book reviews. Professional reviews provide the student with an idea of the variety of ways in which a book review can be handled. Your success depends on how well you write and organize your review. It is wise to select a book and begin reading it early in the term.

Some professors might require that some research must be done in order to produce an adequate book review. That is, the student should make use of additional readings to expand their personal knowledge of the subject of the book being reviewed and incorporate or refer to any appropriate substantive, analytic or theoretical materials from those readings (and lectures, if appropriate). Be sure the library has the materials you will need to prepare a well-informed review. Unavailability of sources is not an acceptable excuse for a poorly crafted review. Use quotations sparingly. However, to avoid accusations of plagiarism, cite the works of others carefully. Your paper should be mainly an example of your research and writing, not that of others.

A good book review usually contains the following:

1) A concise statement that tells the reader what the book is about.
2) A statement indicating the type of contribution to knowledge that book represents and the type of audience it will best serve.
3) A clear statement of its major attributes and weaknesses.
4) The reviewer's specific objections to any of the treatments the author presents, if any, and any factual errors noted.
5) Comments on the author's interpretations, how they are similar to or different from those of others, and any other interpretations the reviewer has to suggest.
6) A summary statement giving overall impressions of the book. 7) A bibliography of sources consulted in writing the review, if applicable (see above).

Citation Style

Citations should be placed in the text, not as footnotes or endnotes (if you must, use footnotes or endnotes for supplementary information). General information from an author should be cited as author and date of publication, e.g. (Adams 1956). Specific information and numerical data (e.g. census figures) require a page number citation as well, e.g. (Adams 1956:22). Direct quotes require quotation marks as well. If a source is a chapter in an edited volume, you must cite the author of the chapter in the text, not the editor of the volume. Style guides most commonly used in this department are available on-line at American Anthropologist (

The following are the criteria for evaluating reviews by your classroom instructor in order of importance: 1) Evidence of original thinking;
2) Evidence of a clear understanding of the subject matter considered;
3) Thoroughness of research;
4) Organization and style; and
5) Grammar and spelling.

Department News

There are a few GA positions available next year looking at enviro anth and climate change issues. If you are interested as an incoming grad student, See for more information.

 Dr. Ewen will be the featured speaker at the HCAS reception. See flyer for details

Gain valuable experience while earning school credit! There are numerous anthropology internship opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students. Students can attain school credit through two undergraduate internship courses, ANTH 4990 and 4991. To see all the possibilities and learn more, click here.
Kristalyn Gill was named winner of the 2015 ECU Study Abroad Photo Contest. Check out the photo of Kristalyn on Mt. Huascaran in Peru!

 Dr, Bailey's article, "A New Online Strategy in Teaching Racial and Ethnic Health and Health Disparities to Public Health Professionals" was accepted by the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. It will appear in the 2016 issue of the Journal.

Excavations in the Western Negev Highlands: Results of the Negev Emergency Survey 1978-89  by Dr. Benjamin Saidel and co-author M. Haimon was published December 2014 by British Archaeological Reports. See here for more.


Haley Drabek translated the Tyrrell Water Management Study finalized in 2014 into 9 separate brochures, one for each proposed water management district. She spent six weeks visiting property owners in each district to explain the benefits of participating in the localized water management district and asking for signatures of intent to join.

Anna Claire researched existing oral history booklets at the Tyrrell Visitor Center and then interviewed elderly Tyrrell County residents who grew up in the county. She taped these interviews for safe keeping at the Visitor Center and is currently writing narrative reports of the collected information, one for each conversation partner. These reports will be bound and held at the Tyrrell County Visitor Center for interested readers. Anna Claire has also been involved with a group of children in the county with a diverse ethnic background. Under Anna Claire's direction the children are currently writing a newsletter that will report on the children's experiences of growing up in Tyrrell County, exploring their favorite places, activities, and hopes for their future.  
East Carolina ranks number one for the second consecutive year as the provider of graduate degrees for the Register of Professional Archaeologists registrants! Read more here

 Dr. Holly Mathews and Dr. Laura Mazow were recognized for their outstanding teaching methods by students during the Spring 2015 semester from the College STAR.

Student response for Dr. Mathews:

"She gives feedback and forces her students to expand their mind and explore alternate theories or explanations. She wants her students to discuss topics in class instead of just listening to her talk the entire time."

Student response for Dr. Mazow:

"We have a small class which allows many opportunities for a lot of class discussion...She always provides feedback and answers to our journal entries and is always available when we need help." 

Congratulations to them both!