Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 2000. Review of Le Play, Engineer and Social Scientist, by Michael Z. Brooke. Contemporary Sociology 29 (May): 562-563.


Copyright 2000 Michael R. Hill


This monograph, a biographical sketch of the early French sociologist, Pierre Guillaume Frederic Le Play, is not a new book. Despite the crisp and attractive appearance of this handsome volume now offered by Transaction Publishers, it is a reprint of a work originally published in England in 1970 by Longmans (a fact noted only in the fore matter on the copyright page). A book of this vintage deserves a new introduction and a bibliographic update. Further, unsettling my sensibilities as an academically trained geographer, Transaction did not reprint the fold-out, multicolor exemplar of Le Play's cartography, located between pages 8 and 9 in the earlier edition. It is also a short book, the main text comprising a breezy 140 pages. The prodigious quantity and continuing potential sociological relevance of Le Play's work warrants far more comprehensive explication than Brooke provides.