Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1993. Review of Harriet Martineau: First Woman Sociologist, by Susan Hoecker-Drysdale. Contemporary Sociology 22 (5): 762-63.


Copyright 1993 Michael R. Hill


Harriet Martineau (1802-76) is one of the most important and least appreciated founders of sociology. The author takes a significant and much-needed step in this lucid introductory biography of Harriet Martineau, from the standpoint of a sociologist. Hoecker Drysdale's decidedly sociological perspective distinguishes this volume from several parallel works that critique Martineau from literary, historical, journalistic, and other angles. With this book, the early woman sociologist whose writing influenced the likes of Edith Abbott, Herbert Spencer, William Sumner, and Lester Ward finally receives a book-length appreciation from a member of the one intellectual discipline that ought long ago to have embraced Martineau as a revered, prolific, and insightful pioneer.