Of Books and Book Reviews

In a sea of vapid, hyperbolic invective passing as "reviews" here on Amazon, yours is a shining gem of lucid insight. And I just bought this book because of your review. Very well done!
             - Comment on my review of Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto

This is the most cogent and analytical review of the group. I congratulate the author for reviewing the book rather than turning the discussion into a "gotcha" political argument.
             - Comment on my review of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

I have been reviewing books on Amazon.com since November, 1998, and am today approaching my 800th review with more than 10,000 "helpful votes" from my readers. My "classic reviewer ranking" has long hovered around 200, while my new-style reviewer rank has been fluctuating between 200 and 400. I am also a member of the Amazon Vine early-reviewers program.

While I don't make a secret of my political opinions, I try to bring an objective eye to the books I review. In addition to holding the book up against my moral and philosophical principles, other key questions for me are, "Did the author achieve what he set out to do?" and, more specifically, "Does his evidence back up his assertions?" (As you might suspect from that, probably 85 percent of what I read is nonfiction.) I also keep in mind the words of my book-reviewing guru Florence King, who wrote "A book review is NOT a book report. It's a news story about a book and needs a brisk journalistic lead. DO NOT think you can just 'tell what it's about.' That's how you describe a book to a friend; a review must analyze." ["The Misanthrope's Corner," National Review, February 8, 1999, reprinted in STET, Damnit!].

I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated your review. I'm buying the book based on it.
            - Comment on my review of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

I intended to compose a review for this book, but you stated my opinions more eloquently than I feel I could have done! I enjoyed reading your criticism! Thank you.
             - Comment on my review of Hail to the Chiefs: Presidential Mischief, Morals, & Malarkey from George W. to George W.

Have I reviewed your book? Would you like me to?

One of the most satisfying things about my experience as an Amazon.com reviewer has been the chance to hear from a number of the authors or artists whose books I've reviewed -- including a few real heroes of mine. It's also a kick to receive comments from readers who like (or sometimes strongly disagree with) my reviews.

Like many top Amazon reviewers, I also am contacted from time to time from authors or publishers seeking to have their books reviewed. Think I'd want to review yours? There's no harm in asking.

I think Andrew has a sense of humor similar to [Bill] Bryson's ... enjoyed the review almost as much as some of Bryson's books!!
            - Comment on my review of Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words

Nicely done - you should work for Peterman. I hear they're writing copy again...
            - Comment on my review of Peterman Rides Again: Adventures Continue with the Real “J. Peterman” Through Life & the Catalog Business

Of course, not everyone agrees...

Seems like everyone that comes in contact with Carter disagrees with you and this book. One of the kindest and most sincere presidents we've ever had. Sorry your fascist agenda doesn't cover President Carter's personality as well.
            - Comment on my review of The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry

No one is sure why left wing, left coast A. Rogers had to somehow use a anti-Bush bit in this review, totally unacceptable but equally anticipated. All the UN Resolutions, all the Demmys during Clinton's term saying we must get Saddam mean nothing, the same as Barney Frank and the Housing mess. Way to go Andrew, go eat some granola and don't shower for a week.
            - Comment on my review of Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse