Books to Review:

While we obviously welcome reviews of martial arts books, this section is open to all topics based on the needs and interests of the Readership.

However, this is not the place for the lasted pulp spat from the maw of partisan mills; the Editor is really not interested in reading why Sean Hannity or Al Franken's latest screeds are "wicked good!" or "really suck!" Exceptions are possible, particularly if it involves explaining why the New York Yankees suck.


The Editor directs attention to the Journal of Asian Martial Arts' book reviews for a good example of what to avoid. Smarmy and fawning statements empty of critical content serve neither the critic nor the Readership. This particularly includes uncritical acceptance of claims without evidence. If an author proposes to "break the laws of physics twice in one episode, Captain," he needs more than his assertions and fallacious appeals. Readers should have some sense of whether or not they wish to obtain the book after reading a review. Specific information proves more persuasive than general praise or condemnation.

Negative Reviews:

We welcome negative reviews that may help the Readership avoid wastage of trees and precious resources that could go towards more fruitful purposes such as beer. The critic should support his criticisms with his own evidence.


Basic Information: Reviews should begin with:

Title Why My Style Rules!
Author Sifu Seymore Butts, Kyoshi, Soke, Meikyo Kaiden
Publisher, Date, ISBN, List Price Hoboken: Publish-It-Yourself!, Inc. 2005, ISBN 666-616-666, $459.99

Reviewers may include a hyperlink to the book if available:

Summary of the Intention of the Work: Try to think of what the Readership would want to know about a book. A good place to start is to ask yourself what you wanted to know or wished you had known before you read it. Depending on the work, the summary may prove simple or complex: "this work teaches hand gun defenses against an attacks with a piece of fruit" versus "the author seeks to reconcile current theories of quantum and special relativity based upon a vision he received when he stared at his cold cereal one morning." The reviewer does not have to give an extensive "plot summary," however.

Does the Author Fulfill his Promise: For example, in the hypothetical work described, does it actually teach what it promises? Does it spread misinformation? Does it add anything new to its field?

Limitations for the Readership: Is this a work intended for readers who have some previous experience in martial arts, firearms, elementary Etruscan, or the Coppenhagen School of quantum mechanics? Reviewers should feel free to recommend supplementary works.

Use Standard English: along with standard English further points of style include:

1. Eschew:
A. Contractions--don't use 'em.
B. Jargon, Non-Standard Terminology and "Buzzwords"--define necessary specialized vocabulary.
C. Abbreviations--unless defined
D. He or She, He/She, He/She/It, He/She/It/Not-Sure-but-Does-Not-Want-to-be-Pressured--pick one.
E. Cliches--they go over like a lead balloon.
F. Fallacious reasoning--argumenta ad hominem, ad captandum vulgus, Poisoning the Well, ipse dixit, et cetera.
"This author is an idiot which no serious martial artist should believe, who lies in everything he does. . . ."

2. Sentences have subjects and verbs: Avoid sentence fragments. Like the ones you see in newspapers. With single paragraph statements. Which seem impressive. To make a point. In the rain.

Otherwise we do not wish to restrict the style of reviewers. Reviews should be interesting and enjoyable. We suggest avoidance of extraneous maledicta; however, sometimes one can only describe a steaming pile of fetid excrement evacuated from the nethers of a rotting poodle as such, particularly if it involves a work of Ayn Rand or Emily Dickenson.

Style of Author: is the book well-written? Did an undermedicated gradeschooler produce it? Does the author wander off into extraneous tangents? Is it just a vehicle for him to show how wonderful he thinks he is and why he belongs in the "martial arts history books?" Does it discuss difficult information in a clear and accessible fashion, or does it induce unconsciousness? These are examples of aspects the reviewer should consider.

Cost and Construction: Is the book worth the price? Does it fall apart in your hand? Should the Readership "get the book" but "wait for paperback!"? Is it poorly edited with typographical errors and a poor print quality? Are the illustrations and photographs clear and useful?

Length of Review: Reviews should be as long as necessary. At this point, we do not have a "standard length" to recommend.

References: list all at the end of the review. We would like to assume all reviews are the original work of the reviewer unless otherwise specified.