Academic Search Complete and OmniFile are the two general databases to try for book reviews. They represent the quickest way to get a variety of reviews from different types of periodicals. All of the major American commentary/opinion magazines are represented as well as a sampling of scholarly journals and professional/trade magazines. They cast a wide net. They work best for books published since 1995. Before that, you would be wise to try additional databases.
However, you do need to do a very specific kind of search to zero-in on book reviews, so read the instructions below carefully or waste a lot of time and get very frustrated!
The devil is in the details ...
The searches for reviews of these two books are pictured below. Look closely and read the notes below carefully.
Notice that I put the author's surname on one line and selected keywords and phrases from the title of the book for the other line. You need to put and between the keywords you selected unless they are adjacent. That is why I put an and between america and democracy and inaction. Notice, too, that I didn't choose to use '44 in my search. It's best to avoid words with punctuation in them or 2-letter words in this database.
In addition to selecting good words and not making any typos, it is TRULY CRITICAL that you do one more thing:
Scroll down to the search screen area labeled Limit your results and look for this pulldown box:
It is critical that you specify you are searching for BOOK REVIEWS!
Many of the reviews cited in this database are going to appear in FULLTEXT. Often you will even have a choice of HTML or PDF. Select the PDF whenever possible to avoid missing some information and so you can be sure to get page numbers. If all you get is a citation or reference to a review, click on the link to do a search of both our print and electronic journals. You COULD get a link directly to the fulltext of the review or you could be directed to the database containing the periodical with the review or to an OSCAR record for the print periodical. And, if we do not have the periodical in any form, you will be sent to an interlibrary loan form. If you fill out that form, you will get an email with the PDF file of the review in a few days.