USU LINKS: USU home l A-Z Index l calendar l MyUSU l contact l people/web search



(use the navigation bar below to find specific information)

Short Review Guidelines

Our hope is that, in addition to giving a summary of thesis or plot, your review will demonstrate how the work(s) under review reflect(s) themes or issues important in the study of western American literature.

Book review length is typically 500 words per assigned book, though we sometimes publish double reviews, which run longer.

Due dates are typically two months from the time the book is sent to you. Reminders are sent, and we can be flexible on due dates, especially if we know beforehand that there may be a scheduling conflict.

Please begin your review with a heading that includes bibliographical information, your name and affiliation; follow these examples:

Lochsa Road: A Pilgrim in the West. By Kim R. Stafford. Lewiston, Id.: Confluence Press, 1991. 84 pages, $20.00/$8.95.
Reviewed by Jane Doe
Utah State University, Logan

Resist Much, Obey Little: Some Notes on Edward Abbey. Edited by James Hepworth and Gregory McNamee. Salt Lake City, Utah: Dream Garden Press, 1985. 128 pages, $11.95/$7.95.
Reviewed by George Smith
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Your review should be double-spaced. If you wish to quote from the book, please use MLA style as follows: “a quote from the book” (172).

Please send your review as an e-mail attachment in Microsoft Word format to Paul Crumbley.

Copyright will be held by the Western Literature Association through the journal, Western American Literature.

Style Sheet for Essay Reviews
(extended review or those reviewing more than two works):


The length for essay reviews is open and dependent on the timeliness of the subject and the number of books under review. Generally, we ask that essay reviews be about 10 pages in length.

Note that because your essay review will be treated like an essay, it is especially important that you follow the section below titled “Guidelines.”


Our goal is that essay reviews consider trends and innovations in a particular specialty area of western American literary criticism or creative writing. In an effort to be reflective about how a single work fits into the context of the field as a whole, you are encouraged to compare and contrast the individual works with work already done in this area. For instance, you may consider how this chapbook is indicative of Plains poetry in general or how this new Stegner biography offers a fresh perspective not available in previous works of criticism. In addition to considering the merits of the books under review, you may also wish to discuss any “not to be missed” points about what is happening in specialty areas like Chicana poetry or nature writing or Steinbeck studies. While individual works may not necessarily be showcased as they would be in an individual review, an essay review should give the reviewer more latitude to consider works in the context of other contemporary writings as well as what has been published before in that field. By considering how a specialty field is evolving, essay reviewers can also consider what “frontiers” lie ahead for western American literature.


  •  Please double-space the review and e-mail it as a Microsoft Word attachment to Paul Crumbley. You may also wish to FAX a hand copy of your review (435-797-4099).
  •  Please provide a title for the review. The title should be specific, straightforward, and accurately reflect why these books were grouped together (for instance, “Urbanity in California Nature Writing” or “The Newest Works on Stegner: Rankin, Meine, and Page and Mary Stegner”). If you wish, you may refer to specific works or authors in the title.
  • Follow MLA formatting by giving page references parenthetically in the text, and generally, you should also follow MLA formatting with bibliographical citations listed at the end; however, please separate out “Works Reviewed” (those works you are reviewing) and “Works Cited” (any other works you may have noted in order to provide a sense of context). Additionally, at the end of each citation for the “Works Reviewed,” add purchase information (number of pages and price) as follows:

Works Reviewed

Meine, Curt, ed. Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision, Essays on Literature, History, and Landscape. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997. 240 pages, $24.95.

Rankin, Charles E., ed. Wallace Stegner, Man & Writer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. 280 pages, $45.00/$19.95.

Works Cited

Arthur, Anthony, ed. Critical Essays on Wallace Stegner. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.  

While it is our hope that your review will address all of the assigned works, we recognize that you may naturally highlight some works more than others because of what you perceive as their merit. Please make sure, however, that all the assigned works are cited in the “Works Reviewed.”

Please provide us with a few lines about your professional life and scholarship that we may use in an author’s bio line. Information that is focused on giving a sense of why you are qualified to review these specific works is especially helpful (perhaps list the title of your latest work in the area).

Note: Copyright will be held by the Western Literature Association.

If you have questions or concerns about these guidelines, please contact
Paul Crumbley
Professor of English
Book Review Editor, Western American Literature
3200 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-3200

Click here to view a printer friendly version of this page
    Back to Book Review Page


Copyright © 2009 Western Literature Association. If you encounter any problems with this site, please contact the webmaster, Sabine Barcatta, at (435) 797-1603 or