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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This is volume six in a collection of biographies of the men and women who have made a significant contribution to the field of psychology in terms of research and theory.
Purpose: According to the editors in the preface, the goal of the series is "to provide a set of chapters about both the scholarly and the personal lives of psychologists who have made significant contributions to the development of the field. The chapters have been constructed to be authoritative yet accessible." Later, they continue: "In selecting subjects for this volume, we tried to preserve the diversity that has characterized earlier volumes. Each of the subjects covered made significant contributions to the development of psychology and thus are legitimately regarded as pioneers."
Audience: According the preface, "the objective is to make the chapters of interest to undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members in psychology. They should be of interest not only to psychologists but also to scholars in many related fields. The chapters should be especially valuable in the field of the history of psychology. However, we hope that they may also be useful in the courses and scholarly research in many of the diverse subfields of psychology." The editors explain, "This volume is a bit of a departure from previous ones in that we have concentrated more on authors who have made substantial contributions to the field of the history of psychology. They are people who not only have worked in the area but also have a reputation for their ability to write in such a way as to convey the material consistently with the goals stated earlier."
Features: The biographies are of psychologists from different areas in the field, including emotion, applied, testing, race, experimental, psychoanalysis, and sport, to name a few. The biographies are fairly detailed and include childhood, schooling, adult personal life, professional career, theory/research, and impact on society and/or the field of psychology. The chapters are well written and contain archival photos. The preface also contains a list of subjects and authors in Volumes 1-6, which is helpful for those who want to purchase other volumes.
Assessment: This is a wonderful book, especially for readers who are interested in the history of psychology. I don't believe psychologists can move ahead unless we look back to see where we came from. The pioneers described in this volume are inspirational and we can learn a great deal from their lives. Some have overcome great difficulties, whether environmental or personal, in order to contribute to the field. Psychology, and the world in general, is better because of these pioneers. Professionals and students alike should take the time to look back into history. I believe it will help us ultimately to reflect on our own work and lives.