After the two posts (see here and here) I dedicated to reviews, it came to my mind that I had recently read some quite frank reviews of books.
One of them is by Amod Lele and analyses the hidden claims in Donald S. Lopez, Jr.,'s Buddhism and Science. A Guide for the Perplexed. I would not subscribe to what seems to me the key claim of the review, that is, that —pace Lopez— Buddhism and Science are compatible and must be so. However, the review is well-argumented and, though not agressive, it is not timid. Here is the link to the review. Readers might be interested to have a look also at the comments to the post, since they highlight the risks implied in the hard work of writing "true" reviews.
The other frank review I recently read has been written by Jayarava and is about Vishvapani Blomfield's Gautama Buddha. I have suggested to the reviewer that some of his criticisms might be off-mark, since they regard the reviewer's interests and not the author's and the readers' ones. But, again, the review is honest, frankly put and accurate until the details.
Interestingly, both reviews have been published on blogs. Moreover, they have been published by authors who do not seem to aim at an academic position.
Does it mean that, once again, the Academia depends for its needs on external volunteers? In fact, reviews are not accessory to the quality of the scientific production. If I were Lopez or Blomfield, I would be grateful to my reviewer and would strive for further suggestions to improve my work (but I might a bit extreme in that…).
Here and here are the two posts on reviews. As for the general problem of the amount of external support the Reserach needs in order to survive, see here.
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