This Chronicle of Higher Ed. Story talks about the scholarly book review process.
When a scholarly book is published, it can undergo a double reception -- a kind of peer review within academe and, if it is lucky, an assessment in the mainstream media.
Alongside that plodding scholarly assessment, however, is a fast-track system of evaluation: reviews in publications aimed at the general reader.When \"academic books\" end up getting a mainstream-review, sometimes the sparks fly.
As academics see it, the editors of mainstream review publications rely on a stable of writers who are more or less unfamiliar with, or even hostile to, scholarly discourse. The editors, on the other hand, see academics as a complacent elite, only pretending to be involved in public issues, blind to their own parochialism -- and unable to write well.