The AAG Review of Books Guidelines for Reviewers

The AAG Review of Books was launched in 2013. Book reviews were formerly published in the AAG’s flagship journals, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and The Professional Geographer.  These have now been conjoined, offering scope for more reviews and discussions. The Review features scholarly reviews of current books related to geography and cognate fields. It also features review essays on several books on a single topic, and book review fora with several commentators and the author’s response.

The AAG Review of Books publishes reviews of significant books relevant to geographers. Book reviews are written on invitation from the editorial office, although the editor does welcome suggestions, particularly those pertaining to geographically significant works written by scholars in other disciplines. If for any reason you, as a reviewer, think a book does not merit a review, please discuss the matter with the editors before preparing a manuscript. We usually request that the review be completed within three months of receipt of the book. If this timing does not work with your schedule, please negotiate a mutually agreeable deadline with the editor. If the review cannot be completed within six months of receipt, we request that the book be returned to the AAGRB office for re-commission.


We are looking for reviews that summarize what is important in the book and that critiques its substance. The reviewer should state the goal of the author and should assess the extent to which that aim is achieved. Please do not merely report the content of the book – the reviewer should rather engage with the material. Chapter-by- chapter summations are to be avoided, and in the case of edited collections, avoid trying to describe every contribution. Concentrate, instead on those essays that you as reviewer regard as the most significant within the larger context of the volume. Ultimately, the AAGRB is interested in lively scholarly writing that will appeal to a broad cross-section of geographers, other scholars, and members of the educated public. As a rule, readers are interested in at least two things: knowing whether the book is worth reading, and understanding how a volume contributes to the progress, conception, and stature of geography or related disciplines. Keep in mind that the best reviews are something of an art form and entirely worth reading on their own.

The use of bibliographic data should be minimal, if at all. If the reviewer deems a reference to be absolutely necessary, then the citation should be (author date page) in the text, and the full reference should be given in a “Reference(s)” section following the review. Do provide complete bibliographic details of any reference for our information, so that we may include relevant publication data as appropriate. When quoting from the book you are reviewing, always provide the page numbers for the quotes. Please avoid foot or endnotes. Book reviews are opinion pieces, not research reports. Solo reviews should generally be between 1000-1500 words, although particularly important works might merit longer essays. Review essays that cover between 2 and 4 books should be between 2000-3000 words. With review fora, we generally recommend that organizers write a 200-400 word introduction, participants write 1000-1500 word commentaries, and the book’s author responds with a minimum of 1500 words. We do like to offer a degree of flexibility with review fora and their specific word counts, but would prefer to cap them at 10,000 words. Depending on the number of participants, this offers a certain level of flexibility with regard to the length of individual commentaries. If there are any questions about the appropriate length, please consult the editors.


All reviews should be written in U.S. English and begin with a heading containing the book’s bibliographic data. This heading should be organized as follows [double spaced]:

Title and Subtitle [Upper case and boldface]. Author(s) or Editor(s). Place of Publication: Name of Press, Date. pp.[both Roman and Arabic numerals]; maps, diagrs., ills., notes, bibliog., index [include these as appropriate]. $00.00 paper (ISBN); $00.00 cloth (ISBN); $00.00 electronic (ISBN).

Geographies of Mars: Seeing and Knowing the Red Planet. K. Maria D. Lane. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011. xiii and 266 pp., maps, photos, diagrams, illus., notes, bibliog., index. $45.00 cloth (ISBN 978-0-226-47078-4); $7.00 $36.00 electronic (ISBN 978-0-226-47095).

The reviewer’s data follows the bibliographic data [double spaced]:

Reviewed by Phil Topos, Department of Chorology, University of New Jersey, Pine Barrens, NJ.

All paragraphs of the review should be indented. Use 12-point type (Times New Roman) and double-space the text throughout the review. In addition, please include four or five keywords at the end of the review, as well as a region and theme.

Responsibility for accuracy rests with you, the reviewer. We therefore urge you use the style sheet below and check the final draft for accuracy of content, U.S. grammar, and U.S. spelling, along with the accuracy of cited passages and their page numbers! In addition, please make sure that ALL features such as appendices, bibliographies, diagrams, illustrations, indices, maps, notes, photos, tables, etc. are listed, and that the correct number of Roman numeral prefatory pages are indicated. Please remember that all contributions to the AAG Review of Books should be written in a style that is accessible to a cross-disciplinary and international readership.

General Style Points

1. All sources cited in the text of a paper must be listed in the references section, and vice versa. Authors will be asked to add textual references to any sources listed in the references section and not cited in the text, and to provide full citation information for any sources cited in the text and not listed in the references. Any sources the authors choose not to cite will be deleted.

2. Serial commas should be used: “the first, second, and fourth candidates” (rather than “the first, second and fourth candidates”).

3. Endnotes should be kept to a minimum. Discursive endnotes are discouraged.

4. Year date ranges should be expressed using whole years, rather than just the last two digits: “1932–1933,” rather than “1932–33.”

5. Reviewers should avoid over usage of hyphens; single dashes should not be used to set off material at the end of a sentence (use double dashes: –).

Word Choice, Acronyms, etc.

6. “Percent” should always be spelled out in text.
7. In phrases such as “the discipline of geography,” geography should not be capitalized.

7. The phrase “geographic information system(s)” should not be capitalized when it is spelled out. The acronym for this phrase, GIS, should be capitalized. Phrases combining the acronym “GIS” and a word beginning with “s” should be rendered as combined words:

GIS science should be GIScience GIS systems should be GISystems GIS scientist should be GIScientist

8. Please spell out acronyms when they are first used – even those authors might expect to be commonly understood. The acronym should appear in parentheses following the spelled-out title or term for later use. For example, when first referred to in-text “The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is located in …” The abbreviation “CIA” can then be used for the remainder of the review.

9. Abbreviated country names do not need to be spelled out, but when abbreviated in-text they must be separated with a period. For example, when the United States is referred to in its abbreviated form it should appear as the “U.S.” rather than the “US.”

10. The phrase “Global Positioning System” should be capitalized when it is spelled out. The acronym for this phrase, GPS, should also be capitalized.

11. Words in a language other than English should be italicized only when they cannot be found in a standard English-language dictionary. Non-English words that are specific to a particular paper’s subject should be italicized and briefly defined when they are first used. Thereafter, they do not need to be italicized. The exception is scientific names of species (e.g., Canis familiaris), the convention for which is to retain italicization for all uses.

12. Single nouns ending in unvoiced “s” should be made possessive by the addition of an apostrophe and another “s.” For example, “the dress’s color was red” (rather than “the dress’ color was red”)


13. All quotation marks should be double. The only exception to this is if material is quoted within a quote, in which case single quotes are used for the embedded quote.

14. Periods and commas should appear inside quotation marks. All other punctuation should appear outside quotation marks, unless the quotation marks delineate a direct quote and the placement of the punctuation would alter the meaning of the quote.

15. “Scare quotes” (quotation marks used to set off a word that is not a direct quote) should be kept to a minimum and used only for emphasis. Unless the author feels it necessary to retain scare quotes on a particular term or terms throughout the paper, that term should be introduced in scare quotes and appear thereafter without them.

16. Direct quotes from secondary sources that are 60 words or more in length should be set as extracts/block quotes (i.e., separated from surrounding text by one line at beginning and one line at end, and indented 0.5 inches on either side). Shorter quotes should be integrated into the text.

17. Excerpts from interviews comprise the exception. Any interview excerpt of more than a single sentence in length should be set as an extract, no matter how long it is.

References and Citations

18. Parenthetical citations should appear in date order and should follow this format with respect to punctuation:

(Zuckerman 1972; Barrett 1989, p. 337; McNaughton, Reese, and Barrett 1989; Turner 1992, 1993; Parnell 1997a, 1997b; Coleman 2000, p. 124–30).

Exception: If the sentence to which a parenthetical note is attached includes a source quote or specific cited point, the source and page range for the quote/point should be the first one listed in the parenthetical note.

19. Sources with up to three authors should be parenthetically cited every time using all author names; sources with more than three authors should be parenthetically cited every time using the first author name and “et al.” (“et al.” should not be italicized):

Callifer et al. 1973

Note that all author names should be listed in the references section.

20. Articles not yet published should be referred to in parenthetical citations and in references as “forthcoming,” rather than as “in press” or by projected year of publication.

21. In references, authors should insert a space between an author’s first and second 4 initials: R. M. Sartain

22. In the references section, all authors should be listed for each reference.

One Author: The author name should be included for each citation.

Smythe-Jones, X. 1998. Copyediting: The authoritative tome. Cambridge, MA: Small Room Press.

Smythe-Jones, X. 1999. Copyediting: Some things I forgot about last time. Cambridge, MA: Small Room Press.

Multiple Authors: Although the first initial of the first author goes behind their last name, for remaining authors, their first initial goes before their last name.

Smythe-Jones, X., L. Emmetson, and Q. Garraty. 1995. The art of copyediting: Nitpicking never ends. American Journal of Copyediting 27:167–89.

Smythe-Jones, X., L. Emmetson, and Q. Garraty. 2000. Further picking of nits: Five years later. American Journal of Copyediting 32 (2): 101–57.

23. Dates should be expressed in British fashion: 25 November 2000 (rather than November 25, 2000). In reference citations to newspapers and weekly magazines, the year should be placed right after the author name(s), as in the model below, but the date and month should be kept in British order:

Sartain, R. M. 2000. Never a dull moment: Clinton staff trashes couch. Washington Post 25 November: A14.

24. When used as an adjective, United States should be abbreviated U.S., with periods (e.g., “U.S. immigration laws”). When used as a noun, United States should be spelled out (e.g., “Washington, DC, is the capitol of the United States”). When used as an adjective, United Kingdom should be abbreviated UK, without periods. When used as a noun, it should be spelled out. Other countries should always be spelled out in full.

25. Individual states should be spelled out in the text of a paper: Maryland, Virginia. However, in the references section they should follow the standard postal two-letter all-caps abbreviations, with no periods: MD, VA. (The District of Columbia should be abbreviated as follows: Washington, DC.) Canadian provinces should be treated in the same way. A distinction should be drawn (or retained) between Cambridge, MA and Cambridge, UK.

26. In the references section, in a citation to a chapter in an edited book, the editor of the book should be referred to as “ed.” rather than “edited by”:

Turner, Elspeth. 1999. Nothing like the sun. In Ruminations on heavenly bodies, ed. R. M. Sartain, 134–207. London, UK: Routledge.

27. All newspaper articles should be fully cited in the references section, rather than worked into the text of the paper. (This applies to articles from weekly magazines, like Newsweek and The Economist, as well.)

The full citation for a newspaper article should include author (if any), title, name of newspaper, date, and page range of article.

28. Personal communications should be cited in their entirety in the text of the paper rather than in the references section. For all personal communication citations, elements required include the following: name of person, position and organization (if relevant), date of communication, method of communication (fax, e-mail, letter, conversation, etc.).

29. In the references section of a paper, titles of sources written in a language other than English should be translated into English in parentheses following each title in its original language. This should also be done for organizational/institutional names when they appear as the author of a source and for the titles of journal/newspaper/magazine articles and essays or chapters in a larger work.

30. If authors cite in the text a source quoted in another source, they must provide full citations for both sources in the references section. Where possible, a page reference to the quote in the original source should also be provided.

31. Software packages referred to in the text of a paper must be cited in the references section. Information required includes only the following: name of software, version used, maker of software, city/state/country of location of maker.

32. The title of a website or page should not be italicized in the references section. (Note, however, that the title of a website should be provided; websites cannot be cited solely by URL.) The title of a paper posted on the Web directly by its authors should be italicized. The title of a paper published by an online journal or posted on the Web by a professional organization as part of the proceedings of a particular professional meeting should not be italicized, but the name of the journal or title of the proceedings should be italicized, following the format appropriate to citation of a journal article or a chapter from an edited work.

33. Website URLs should be cited at the end of a citation to an online source in this format: (last accessed 26 February 2001). The last accessed date is required information for a citation. Authors should check all URLs before final submission of a paper, to make sure that they are still active. If they are not, alternative URLs for the same information should be provided, or authors should add a note to the citation indicating where else the information may be found (e.g., perhaps a copy could be requested from the author if necessary).


We would like to offer AAGRB reviewers the option of including their ORCiD identifier with their book reviews. In order to do this, we will need to submit your ORCiD identifier in the manuscript file that we send to Taylor & Francis. If you already have an ORCiD identifier, please include it within your submission. If you do not have an ORCiD identifier and are not interested in having one, we will go ahead and submit your manuscript without one. If you do not have an ORCiD identifier, but are interested in having one, see the links below on the benefits and signup process:

Here’s a link to the Taylor & Francis ORCiD page which explains what it is, the benefits for authors, and how to sign up

See also:

This is an example of how it would look in the manuscripts we send to T&F:

[Reviewed/Commentary] by Clive Barnett, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Devon, UK. ORCiD:

Region, Theme, Keywords

At the bottom of your review, please provide a region, theme, and keywords. See below for more information on this:

Region: region or global (1-2 regions)

Theme: the overarching area of geography that the review falls under

Keywords: up to five keywords that specify subfields of geography or locational detail

Please transmit your review as a Word file attachment to an email to:

If you have additional questions about format or content issues related to your book review, please contact the Editor-in-Chief, Debbie Hopkins at

Last updated: July 1, 2020