CEU Review of Books guidelines
These guidelines are designed to help reviewers with writing their contribution to the CEU Review of Books. If, after reading the guidelines, you have further queries, please contact the Managing Editor, Dr Andrea Talabér at CEUReviewofBooks@press.ceu.edu.
The CEURB aims to promote scholarship written in English and in the languages of the region. All the reviews and articles are to be written in English in an engaging style that will appeal not only to scholarly audiences, but also to the interested public.
If you are interested in writing a review for the CEURB, please get in touch with our Managing Editor.
In your email, please include information about your affiliation, background, research interests and experience. Please also mention any conflicts of interest you might have with the book’s author(s) or editor(s). We cannot guarantee that the book requested will be available for review and we would encourage prospective reviewers to suggest more than one title they are interested in.
We ask that reviewers have studied at least at postgraduate level. At CEURB we especially encourage PhD students (preferably in the later stages of their doctorate) and early career researchers to write for us.
If you are interested in writing a Long Read essay for us, please email the Managing Editor at CEUReviewofBooks@press.ceu.edu with the theme of the piece, why you believe it would be appropriate for the CEU Review of Books and explain why you are qualified to write this piece for us. Long Reads may be a longer review that takes a particular book as a starting point for exploring a topic relating to research on Central Europe or reflections on current issues/popular research themes with perhaps a wider social impact.
At the CEURB we like to ensure that reviewers and authors can manage their usual workload and write for us as well. If you feel that you cannot stick to the agreed deadline and may need some extra time, please do not hesitate to contact the Managing Editor.
Length and format:
1,000-1,200 words maximum in length for book reviews
2,000-2,500 words for Long Read articles
We ask reviewers to return reviews to us within 6-8 weeks of the receipt of the book (for Long Reads, please discuss the deadline with the Managing Editor)
Include the full publication details in the following format:
Title by Author. Press, no. pages, price (format), Year of Publication, ISBN.
Our aim is to increase engagement with the scholarship being published in and about Central and Eastern Europe and to foster the dissemination of knowledge and critical debate. Your review should therefore be written in a way that is engaging and can be read and understood by a wide audience ranging from fellow academics, other experts and by the general public.
American English spelling convention.
Use: -ize (not -ise), center (not centre), flavor (not flavour).
Write out full numbers between and including one to ten, please use numerals above this. Always use numerals with percentages and decimal numbers. For percentages, please use the percentage (%) sign.
For dates use the format: 9 May 2022 (day month year).
For measurements write out the words “meter”, “miles” etc. in full.
Use double quotation marks (single only for quotations within quotations).
Use direct quotations from the book under review sparingly and please include page numbers in brackets, e.g., “direct quotation” (208).
Enclose punctuation in the original quotation within the quotation marks, otherwise put it after the quotation mark.
When using acronyms, please give the full name at first mention and include the acronym in brackets.
Hyperlinks, no endnotes or footnotes.
Please avoid the use of bullet points.
The editing and publication process:
Every review and Long Read submitted will go through a review and editing process by the Managing Editor, who will copy-edit and proofread the article.
In some cases, the Managing Editor might ask you to provide more detail on certain aspects of your review, to double-check factual claims or to provide links as evidence to support your argument.
You will be given the opportunity to revise your text and all substantial changes will be agreed with the reviewer prior to publication. We ask reviewers to return proofs within 5 days for minor revisions. In cases of more substantial revisions, the Managing Editor will suggest a resubmission deadline after consultation with the reviewer.
Once your review/Long Read is published on the platform, you will be notified and the link to your text will be sent to you.
Tips for (first time) reviewers
Books reviews can be written in various styles: journalistic, critical, sharp and witty or more descriptive and expressive, but most importantly, they should engage critically with the book under review. Do not be afraid to be creative in your review and passionate about the book you are reviewing but do make sure that you evaluate it critically and fairly. We are not aiming for a traditional academic review, which exhaustively describes the book under review, but an engagement with its main theses.
It is fine to be critical of the book under review, but this criticism must be constructive and should not be framed as a personal criticism of the author.
Here are some tips on how you could structure your review.
The opening sentence and paragraph can be the most difficult to write. Use this paragraph to draw the reader in:
Introduce the book, its relevance, say in a sentence what it is about.
Is the book on a topic that is currently in the news? Is it a ‘hot topic’? Use it to pique the reader’s interest. (You can further elaborate on current relevance in the final paragraph.)
Say here what the key themes and definition are in the book.
Body of the review
You can give a rundown of each chapter, but there is no need to say explicitly what information is included in which chapter. Pick the major themes that run through the book and concentrate on those. This approach also helps to give readers a concise overview of the key themes and arguments of the book and helps them to understand the author’s ideas, goals and aims
Comment on the strengths and on the weaknesses of the arguments the author makes. Are they convincing? Do they make a strong or a weak case? Why? How do the arguments fit in with the wider scholarly discourse?
One of the key tasks of the reviewer is to be fair and constructive. Be balanced, but if there are issues with the book do point it out. However, remember that you are evaluating the book and not the author.
Does the book address or relate to issues currently in the public discourse? You can comment on those here.
Summarise the book’s main argument and its contribution to current scholarship in the field. How does it enhance our current understanding of the issues addressed?
Who would you recommend this book to? Who would find it useful?
Remember that these are ideas that you can use, and that book reviews can be highly readable and informative following different formats too. If you have any questions, please contact the Managing Editor.