Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1983. Review of Contexts of Behavior: Anthropological Dimensions, by Robert J. Maxwell. Mid-American Review of Sociology 8 (Winter): 93-94.


Copyright 1983 Michael R. Hill


This book is a massive disappointment. The well-designed dust jacket indicates that Maxwell, "Describes the interaction between humans and their environments, drawing upon a wide range of ethological and anthropological research to form a comprehensive, integrated picture of human cultural ecology." This is only partially true. Maxwell describes a substantial amount of research, but his review is neither comprehensive nor well-integrated.

Maxwell throws out a bibliographic fishing net and cleans his variegated catch in slip-shod fashion. Unfortunately, his net also has gaping, unexplained holes. The best that one can say about this book is that the bibliography would have been mildly useful ten years ago to students of human-environment relations. It is now sadly out-of-date.