Book Review Style Guide

1.  A summary of a book’s contents and organization should be discussed as early as possible, ideally in the introductory paragraph, with the remainder of the review focused on a critique of the book.

2.  Ensure that the names of all authors/editors mentioned are spelled correctly. This is especially critical for edited volumes as we will likely not have a copy of the book to refer to during the copyediting process.

3.  When referring to the author/editor of the book or book chapter, simply use the last name; no title (doctor, professor, etc.) is needed.

4.  When referring to other people in the review please supply full names unless the person is very famous (e.g., Nietzsche, Foucault, Mao)

5. When using a gender pronoun (he/she/his/hers) to refer to an author, it is the reviewer’s responsibility to ensure they know the author’s preferred gender pronoun. If in doubt, we recommend simply using the author’s surname or “they.”

6.  Ensure that all diacritical marks are correct.

7. We ask that your review cite other works only if absolutely necessary. If done, the citation should be parenthetical within the body of the review and not as a footnote and follow the format:

For a book: (Owen Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China, London: Oxford University Press, 1992)

For a book chapter: (Gulshan Sachdeva, “China’s Current South Asia Strategy,” in China’s Grand Strategy, ed. David B. H. Denoon, New York: NYU Press, 2021)

For a journal article: (J. Stephen Lansing, “Regime shifts in Balinese subaks,” Current Anthropology, 55, no. 2 [2014])

If citing a direct quote, the page number should be inserted at the end of the citation as follows:

(Owen Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China, London: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 102)

8. Long quotations from the text (more than three lines of text) can be set apart and indented, no quotation marks are needed. Page number(s) must be included at the end of a quote, in parentheses. At end of sentence the period follows the final parenthesis. For example:

Boldly, Barr argues that the rise of China is not only a transformative event in economic terms but also “a cultural one which impacts ‘our’ very identity” (3).

9. When quoting text, if changes must be made to a word in the original quote for clarity and/or syntax, indicate the change using square brackets. For example:

The result was that “[t]he Japanese in effect agreed not to fish herring, salmon, and halibut east of an Abstention Line” (75).

10. The words “chapter” and “part” are spelled with a lower case “c” or “p” unless it begins a sentence.

11. Per Chicago Manual of Style please avoid using “scare quotes” (see CMS 7.55). For example do NOT do as follows:

The North Korean “news” outlet KCTV provides a daily summary of the activities of the “great leader,” with a special focus on his “inspection tours.”

12. Pacific Affairs employs the serial comma, that is the comma preceding the word “and” in a list. For example:

The market had many delicious fruits for sale, such as apples, pears, plums, and apricots.

13. Keep in mind that Pacific Affairs is an inter-disciplinary journal and that people outside your discipline will be reading the review: avoid jargon and spell out all acronyms at their first appearance.

14. Italicize all foreign terms unless the term is used repeatedly throughout the review, in that case italicize only the first instance.

15. Spell out all numbers from 0 to 9, use numerals for all others. See CMS, section 9.3 for further details.

  • Exception: In book reviews chapters use number, i.e., “chapter 6 discusses the…”
  • Exception: When a number is at the beginning of a sentence it must be spelled out.