Submitting Book Reviews


Book reviews are a highly valued component of our journal. These reviews demonstrate thoughtful engagement and contain stimulating insights about recent publications of interest to our readers. The book reviews should address the following:

  1. A careful summary of the work’s central features, including its subject matter, organization, how the argument is structured; and context within the relevant scholarly and/or policy debates; and
  2. Analysis of how the work contributes to the relevant field(s) of knowledge and/or theoretical literatures, including any perceived shortcomings; in other words, how successful was the work in achieving its stated goals?

The review should not include passages that simply promote the reviewer’s own work, or engage in ad hominem attacks. Critical engagement is welcomed but on the basis of substantive points rather than solely on ideological differences. Book reviews should be written in clear and comprehensible English that does not require in-depth editing or rewriting. If we judge a book review fails to meet this standard for clarity, it will be sent back to the reviewer to be professionally edited at his/her expense.

SAMPLE Publishing Agreement  Sample book reviews

How do I review for Pacific Affairs?

Book reviews in Pacific Affairs are by invitation only. We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you would like to review books for Pacific Affairs please fill out a Book Reviewer Information Form. Be very specific about which regions and in what topics you have expertise. You must be either enrolled in, or graduated from, a Ph.D program.

If you receive an invitation from us, we sincerely hope you can accept. Your review will contribute to our intellectual community, not only by informing readers about recent scholarly publications, but also by more broadly sustaining the practice of serious, careful, and diplomatic yet critical exchange that lies at the heart of the scholarly endeavor.

If you accept our invitation, kindly confirm your acceptance via email and provide us a preferred (physical) mailing address so that we can send you the book by surface mail. In the event that you do not receive a reply from us within a week of your confirmation, please assume that we did not receive your message and re-send it at your earliest convenience. At that time, we will send you detailed book review instructions and a book review agreement enclosed with the book.

Please note that we use the most economical shipping method available. For reviewers based in Asia and Europe, this means that you may not receive your book for 6 – 12 weeks.

Before accepting our invitation, please consider the following:

1) Do you have time to write the review within the specified timeframe? Please bear in mind that incomplete reviews result in disappointment for the book authors and editors, as well as losses in time, labor, and shipping costs for both the publishers and for Pacific Affairs itself.

2) Should you exclude yourself from writing the review based on a potential conflict of interest?

Pacific Affairs is strongly committed to maintianing the integrity of the review process by excluding from consideration reviewers who have a potential conflict of interest with authors. The professional obligation to self-declare potential conflict of interest is triggered when there is a relationship that falls into the following categories:

  • former or current advisors and advisees,
  • current departmental colleagues,
  • former or current co-authors,
  • previous reviewers of the manuscript for a press,
  • or if you have well-documented strong scholarly, ideological or personal disagreements with the author.

If you feel you fall into one of these or other categories of potential conflict of interest, we would appreciate your letting us know so that we can find another reviewer. If you have any doubts or concerns regarding whether you are in a potential situation of conflict of interest or not, please contact us. For more information please see our Misconduct Policies.

If you have been invited to review a book for Pacific Affairs, but are unable to do so for the above or other reasons, we would welcome your suggestions for other reviewers who you feel have the appropriate level and type of expertise.

Before Submitting Your Review

If you decide to accept our invitation, please consider the following prior to submitting your review:

1) Does the word count fall within a range of 800 – 1000 words (excluding the bibliographic information and reviewer information)? Pacific Affairs is mandated to publish a minimum number of book reviews per issue. Because we publish in print format, it is very important that reviewers adhere to this limit. Reviews that exceed 1000 words will be taking word space from other reviewers. In the interest of fairness and equity in allocating word space for each review, our policy is thus to not make exceptions.

2) Does the review summarize the book’s central features (including its subject matter, organization, and argument structure), and analyze its contributions to the relevant scholarly fields? We believe that our journal’s readership benefits from concise summaries and fair engagement and/or criticism of the quality and significance of the information and arguments contained in the book.

3) Has the review been proofread for any typos or errors, and is it formatted properly? Specifically, we would appreciate your attention to the following:

a) Reviews should be double-spaced and written in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format.
b) Reviewers should confirm that any diacritical marks are rendered correctly.
c) Reviews must not contain footnotes. If other works are mentioned in the review, please provide the full citation within the text – i.e., the authors/editors, the title of the publication, the publisher and year of publication all in parentheses. E.g.,( Hyung Gu Lynn, Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas Since 1989, Zed Books, 2007).  If direct quotations are made, please ensure that these are accurate and that the page reference is supplied (in parentheses) after the quote.
d) Avoid citing your own work, if there is a compelling reason to do so keep the number to the absolute minimum
e) At the head of the review, please provide the following bibliographic information (please follow exactly):

FOREIGN AID, WAR, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: South Vietnam, 1955-1975. By Douglas C. Dacy. Cambridge, London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986. xix, 300 pp. US$39.50, cloth. ISBN 9 7805 2102 1319.

f) At the foot of the review, please indicate your academic affiliation (italicized), on the left, and your name in capital letters on the right. For example:

University of California, Berkeley, USA                                                John Doe

Further formatting details can be found here.

Reviews should be submitted as an email attachment to our editorial assistant for book reviews, Daniel Kane.

After We Receive Your Review

Once we receive your review, we will copyedit and conduct an editorial read prior to production in order to ensure that all reviews meet our general expectations for book reviews. At that stage, we will contact you with any questions regarding clarifications of substantive points, or corrections of technical matters. We feel that our attention to this process reflects the seriousness with which we take the book reviews. It is then posted to our forthcoming book reviews page. The review will also be placed in the queue to appear in a print and official (final) online issue. When it is formally published an electronic copy of your review will be emailed to you. Permission to post the review on personal or departmental websites is granted.