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Philosophy: Book Reviews

The Philosophy Research Guide provides resources and strategies for all areas and periods in philosophy, including subject headings for searching Orbis and links to online books.

Find Book Reviews

What's Here

There are various ways to find reviews of books in philosophy:

This page will point you to major sources of reviews of books on philosophy and how to find them in the databases.


In Philosophy Databases

These will naturally be the best sources of scholarly reviews.

Philosopher's Index

Religion and Philosophy Collection

These two databases work the same way: when you connect, you will be in the default Basic Search.  Switch to Advanced Search.  In the lower left there's a section called "Limit your results."  Look in the "Document Type" field for "Book Review."  Then go ahead and enter your search terms and run the search.  (Or if you prefer, enter your search terms and the add the book review limit before running the search.)

Review Journals

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Publishes substantial, open-access reviews of philosophical works. Publication began in 2002

Philosophy in Review/Comptes rendus philosophiques
An open-access journal of philosophy book reviews in publication since 1981.
Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger
Reviews of primarily German philosophical books.


In General Book Review and Journal Databases

General book review and journal databases can help you discover whether a book on philosophy has reached a broader scholarly and sometimes general audience, and if so, what the reception might have been.  These databases will of course overlap with the philosophy databases.

Academic Search Premier

Academic Search is a general database covering all fields, including many important popular magazines.  To find book reviews in it, follow the same instructions for the two philosophy databases (above).

Book Review Digest Plus

This database pulls together the book reviews from all of the WilsonWeb databases, covering over 8,000 periodicals starting in 1983.  If you search for a book, say Charles Taylor's Modern Social Imaginaries (search as Title), all of the book reviews in the databases will be listed right under it, rather than as separate records.  (See the results.)  Notice that some of the entries include both an except from the review and access to the review's full text; some provide only an excerpt; and some give only a citation.  You may need to use the Yale Links feature to find the full text of the review in another database, or look up the printed edition.  (OMG, print?!)

Book Review Index Online Plus

Search for the book title (not the review title). (See the results.) Some reviews will be available in full text, but others will only be citations -- use the Yale Links feature to find the full text of the review in another database, or look up the journal in Orbis.


In Newspaper Databases

Newspaper reviews have the widest readership, and some are highly respected.  In this section I've included general newspaper databases, and direct links to two important review sources (even though they're covered by other Library databases).

Factiva

Covers numerous newspapers and magazines in full text.  Unfortunately it does not provide any way to limit to books reviews.

Lexis-Nexis

Covers numerous newspapers and magazines in full text.  To get to reviews, first click on the News tab.  Then, in the "Sources" dropdown box, select "Book, movie, music, play and video reviews."

Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

This database covers only the TLS, and that currently it only covers 1902-20011, with a few gaps.  So if the book was never reviewed there or it's too recent your search will be unsuccessful.  But all is not lost: more recent issues of TLS are covered by some of the Library's other databases, including Book Review Digest, Book Review Index, Academic Search and others.

Subject Guide

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Colin McCaffrey
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