As a means of survival, academics must quickly develop thick skins in response to having our work reviewed. Anything we get done is because someone (who is often unknown to us, speaking of anonymity) gave it a thumbs up, not a thumbs down. However harsh a peer review might be toward our work, we at least have the consolation of this criticism being private, seen by only a few eyes. What emerges is the finished product of a journal article or conference paper. But what is lost is the back and forth of critique and revision.
I admit I am still getting used to the very public experience of having my book reviewed. It’s done, printed, beyond revisions, and exposed to the world for its judgment. So, I was happy to receive a positive review in the hometown St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Steve Weinberg, a distinguished and relevant reviewer indeed, did a sound job of summarizing the books and pointing to some of my main points while maintaining the nuance that I try to drive home; Weinberg writes that On the Condition of Anonymity “injects calm reason and scholarly rigor into a debate that often arouses passions.” Thanks. I was less pleased at the erroneously condensed headline: “Book argues against journalists’ use of anonymous sources.” Ugh, if I would have dismissed all uses of unnamed sources, it would have been a much shorter book.