Missing the Mark Most Mildly

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(8), 654–655. Reviews the book, Social and Personality Development edited by Michael E. Lamb (1978). Lamb's book is an edited rather than a single-author volume, contrary to what the reviewer had expected from its cover. Its aim is “to make available to undergraduate and graduate students a comprehensive review of the current status of research and theory in the area of social and personality development”. Given the breadth and complexity of the field, textbooks in developmental psychology are notably difficult to organize. The introduction by Lamb is a nicely executed reminder of different approaches to the study of development. Lamb's chapter on infancy (which opens the chronological section) is, again, competently executed, but coverage is spotty and' it completely omits reference to many of the field's most widely respected investigators. It is difficult to summarize a review to an edited volume, especially one that, lacks an over riding theme or orientation. The lack of depth, the lack of concern with issues, and the lack of organization leave the reviewer unsatisfied, however, and unwilling to use this as a textbook. It is not a bad book, but rather a very mild-mannered book, it does no harm, but the topic awaits a deeper and more scholarly treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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