How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Book

How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Book

A critical analysis of a book is an analysis that evaluates the weaknesses, strengths and validity through interpretation and explanation. Above all, it makes an argument; it is a commentary and not just a summary. Therefore, it enables to engage in a dialogue and a discussion with the book’s author and other audiences. Typically, a book analysis offers the reader a clear summary of the content include a description of the subject, its perspective, purpose and argument.

It offers a critical content assessment involving personal reactions to the work being reviewed. This involves what you consider noteworthy, whether it is persuasive, effective and how it enabled you to have a better understanding of issues at hand.

Lastly, it suggests whether target audience will appreciate the work or not.

Below are recommended strategies that if you follow, they will help you know how to write a critical analysis of a book to help you become a competent analyst or reviewer.

Following these steps will help you know how to write a critical analysis of a book

Develop an assessment

Before you start writing your analysis, it is imperative to develop an assessment. Remember, writing a book review is basically a two step process including developing an argument of the work being analyzed and making an argument as you work on a well-supported and organized draft.

Therefore, you should ask yourself a number of questions and transpose them to a book analysis of exhibitions, performances and other subjects of review.

Some of the questions to help you understand how to write a critical analysis of a book that you should ignore include:

What is the main argument or thesis of the book- if the books author wanted to pass across one idea, what would it be? How does the idea contrast or compare to the world you are aware of and what has the book achieved?

What is the topic or subject of the book? Has the subject been thoroughly covered by the author, does it have a balanced version and what is the approach to the subject (analytical, topical, descriptive or chronological)?

How does the author support the argument therein? Is there any evidence to prove the point, is it convincing? Does the information from the author conflict with that in other books you have read or past assumptions on the subject?

How does the books author structure the argument, what are the parts making up the argument, is it sensible and is it persuasive to you or not?

How has the book enabled you to comprehend the topic or subject?

When developing an assessment, it is also imperative to know who is the author including his or her nationality, training, political persuasion, personal history, intellectual interests and historical context as they offer more details on how a book or work takes shape.

You should also determine the genre of the book. From which field does it emerge from, does it adhere to or depart from the genres conventions.

By answering the above questions, you get a literary standard to base your analysis and write an incredible review.

The thesis statement

With an assessment, survey your notes carefully to put your impression into a statement that will define the purpose of your analysis. Use a thesis to outline your argument by ensuring the thesis is developed in a logical way.

Emphasize on the argument of the author while developing your own. Below is a guideline on how to organize your analysis or your review


A catchy introduction is the way to go when writing an analysis of a book because it delivers the argument. Introduce your review based on the argument or target audience and remember to include

  • The authors name, the main theme and the title of the book
  • Include important details on which the author is his or her stance in the field of inquiry or genre. Link the title of the book to the subject to reveal how the title describes the subject matter
  • Include your review while ensuring it makes sense
  • The thesis of the book and your thesis of the book

Summary of the content

A summary of the content is an important part of a critical analysis of a book. It should be brief, offer supporting statements and evidence from the book which, will also be dispersed in the entire review

Analysis and evaluation of the book

Your evaluation and analysis of the book should be written and organized in paragraphs to help you handle single parts of your argument. It can be challenging trying to understand how to write a critical analysis of a book but with singled out aspects of an argument, arranging your points is easy. This is because it enables you to differentiate different elements of your critical analysis and pair up assertions with clear evidence

Organize your paragraphs by use of themes, strategies and other writing elements of the book

If you wish to make comparisons to other books, ensure they are brief to make your book analysis is on the spotlight

Avoid a lot of quotations and offer specific references to pages in parentheses when quoting. Remember that you will use your own words compared to that of the author in your analysis.

Writing the conclusion of your book analysis

In the conclusion, restate the thesis, make a final judgement of the book but avoid including any new evidence for your argument. New ideas are however welcome especially those that go beyond the subject and extend your thesis logic.

Balance weaknesses and strengths in the conclusion to unify your analysis.

More tips on how to write a critical analysis of a book

Review the book before you and not what you wish to have been written by the author. Point out shortcomings without criticizing the book for not being what it was not designed to be

Try to fight the right words at all times to express your ideas based on the guidelines on how to write a critical analysis of a book

Challenge an approach, an assumption or an argument, and be sure to cite examples to support your assertions

Always present a balanced argument about the value of the book to its target audience. You are obliged to agree or disagree and keep in mind that every author always deserves fair criticism and treatment.

Critical analysis of a book style

The other guideline on how to write a critical analysis of a book to keep in mind is the style. Determine how the book is structured and whether its development is logical or orderly, is it narrative or analytical and is the prose appropriate to target audience or readable.

Finally, state your final analysis. This can be done by asking yourself whether you can recommend the book to others or not and whether you can purchase the book or not.

Examples of critical analysis of a book essays

Essay topic: Man’s search for Meaning

In the book Man’s search for Meaning, the author tells of a personal and incredible story of his life in prison during the Holocaust. The author Victor E. presents his argument, shares his story by stating the purpose of sharing his life experience in writing as a prisoner, doctor and a psychologist.

The author Victor E. Frankl begins the story by stating the purpose of sharing his life experience in writing. According to the author, the paper is not to offer any details of the Holocaust but to offer an intriguing and personal story. He offers an exceptional personal account of his life and the concentration camp-

 Example 2….

The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War

When it comes to the history of the United States of America, the way in which civil war could be fought and won to put an end to slavery is one of the things that have always puzzled me, especially with the fact that civil rights were not fully granted to blacks until a century later. The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War by Lawrence R. Tenzer, suggests that white slavery was one of the major causes of tension between the South and North hence, the cause of civil war or the notion of slavery by Northerners as a personal threa-

Example 3….

Topic: Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer and Brewster’s in England

The work of women in the changing world, 1300-1600, investigates the way in which women brewed and sold majority of ale drunk in England. Ale and beer historically were very significant elements of English diet. Brewing of Ale was low status labor and low skill job that was designed or considered the domestic responsibility of women. Brewers in the early 15th century began to make Ale with hops and they called it ‘BEER’’-

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