How does this book differ from the general understanding of the topic or time?
You might have to read the whole book in some cases to determine what the authors thesis is.
Watch out for transitions or verbs that imply proof. An historical book, paper or essay, such as a critical book review is an argument. Books such as Anthony Westons, A Rulebook for Arguments, or Trudy Goviers, A Practical Study of Argument, are very helpful if you are unsure of what an argument is.
Book reviews are short and concise, they may vary from half a page to several pages depending on the assignment.
The introduction is extremely important, it must be short, effective, and it must contain your thesis.
On being required to write my first critical book review for an upper level history course I was filled with questions as were many of my peers.
I was aware that the discourse is different between disciplines and that each discipline has its own unique requirements.
Good historical writing is also about creating something new.
Combine these two and you have, an argument about a new historical perception.
Many of us had never written a critical book review for history, and not all of us were history majors.
A number of students dropped out of the course after writing their first critical book review in history simply because they did not know what was required and did not conduct the research to find out.