When the editors of Contemporary Sociology selected the ten most influential books of the past twenty-five years and published new essays on their importance, the feature sparked enthusiasm, debate, and controversy. This volume responds to and extends that discussion by expanding the list to seventeen books, incorporating a piece on the bestsellers of sociology, and adding four essays on the "most influential" controversy itself. Although the list centers on sociology, only half of the books were written by sociologists.
The charge to the reviewers was not to make a case for a book, but rather to analyze the character and extent of its influence. Because these works are already recognized as milestones in their fields, and because the reviewers are prominent figures who themselves often played central roles in the dramas surrounding these titles, the reviews are as noteworthy for their critical edge as for their celebration of the books' contributions. The result is a thought-provoking volume that engages many of the key intellectual issues of our time.