The primary focus of a book review is supplied in the beginning paragraph. After this main idea is established, it needs to be developed and justified. Using an organized list of material, the reviewer details the reasons behind the response to the book. References to past history, causes and effects, comparisons and contrasts, and specific passages from the book help illustrate and exemplify this main idea. Personal philosophy and moralization should be kept to a minimum, if included at all; the reader of a book review is interested in unbiased, thoughtful, reasonable, and well-developed ideas pertaining to the book in question.
The bulk of a review consists of the development of the reviewer's main idea, the response to the book and the reasons for it. In each of the example reviews that accompany this guide, the reviewers develop their ideas through references to comparable past and contemporary works, analysis of aspects of form and technique, and inclusion of notable passages from the books being reviewed.