Review of The Polish Peasant in Europe and America

Alfred L. Kroeber

The Polish Peasant in Europe and America. WILLIAM I. THOMAS and FLORIAN ZNANIECKI. (New York, Knopf, 2 vols., 1927).

It is not often that so heavily documented a work as this is reissued. But there are few social studies which extract from their documentation so much illumination and so vivid a picture both of a culture and of the lives of the individuals born into it. Almost every page of the 2200 is fascinatingly interesting, whether it contain letters of peasants at home, in America, or the author's interpretations and comments. The 300-page general introduction is a masterly description and analysis of a culture segment—the compactness of its ethnography surpassed only by the brilliance of its psychology. It does for the Polish peasant much what Mead had done for the Samoan girl; but then follows the mass of primary data that constitute the bulk of the book. Every ethnologist can profit by taking this introduction as a model.

The work is unchanged from the original five-volume University of Chicago edition, except for one transposition.





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