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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: The first volume of this set, A Brief History of Modern Psychology, published in 2007, is a concise look at modern psychology from the nineteenth century onward. The second volume, A History of Psychology, 3rd edition, published in 2009, is a collection of primary and secondary source readings from John Locke (1690) through George Mandler (2002). These two volumes are intended to be used together in history of psychology courses.
Purpose: The purpose of the first volume is to provide students "with a solid grounding in psychology's past," in order to help them integrate their "knowledge of contemporary psychology into a more meaningful whole, that it will help you understand psychology's place in a larger story." The second volume is intended as "a collection of both primary source literature in the history of psychology and historical research in psychology done within the past 30 years."
Audience: The intended audience for the first volume includes both students and general readers. The second volume "is intended for use in history of psychology classes at the upper undergraduate and graduate levels." The editor is a professor of psychology at Texas A&M University.
Features: The Brief History covers prescientific psychology (phrenology and physiognomy in the 19th century) through the cognitive psychology movement (1950s, 1960s, and 1970s). The History of Psychology begins with an explanation of historiography: "the philosophy and methods of doing history," before focusing on mechanism, empiricism, and physiology, setting the foundation of modern psychology. Other schools of psychology are also discussed, including structuralism and functionalism. This volume describes the evolution of clinical psychology, as well as psychoanalysis and behaviorism, ending with racial and gender issues. There are over 40 primary source articles, which greatly help readers in understanding the material from the original authors' perspectives.
Assessment: The editor has done an excellent job of organizing the information and covering all the major schools and movements in psychology. Combining a history textbook and with a book of both primary and secondary sources provides a comprehensive understanding of the field of psychology.