Book Reviews

Handbook of Emotions, Second Edition
by Michael Lewis (Editor), Jeannette M. Haviland-jones (Editor)

Hardcover - 710 pages 2nd edition (June 5, 2000)
Guilford Press; ISBN: 1572305290 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.78 x 10.32 x 7.43
Editorial Reviews
Review by William  A.  Spriggs, 
May 19,  2001May 19,  2001

Before I purchased this large textbook, the only knowledge that I had of the book was the Cosmides and Tooby chapter titled "Evolutionary psychology and the emotions." Being urged on by their work and now curious of what else would be in the book, I obtained the book and dug in. In doing so, I discovered a vast mine of knowledge that I had not previously explored and found that I had a much better understanding of the "self and the other"; the brave new and complex view that is quickly earning the moniker The Biocultural Perspective; the study of how nature and nurture work together to give us human nature at precise locations on the planet. This book has taught me that the study of emotions is so vastly important because they are the pivot point in which we humans "listen" to the "messages" our bodies are telling us, combine it with our deepest memories and social constructs of our surrounding cultures; then combine and decode all these items into thoughts or actions to be dwelled or acted upon.

The book is brilliantly edited by Michael Lewis and Jeannette M. Haviland-Jones, who have painstakingly put together 43 chapters by 73 contributors into seven major parts to the book and created a sensible path for all of us to follow:

This book has made such an important sea change in my knowledge of the way we humans behave as to permanently alter and expand my evolutionary perspective of human behavior. I believe that emotion studies intertwined with the evolutionary perspective will be one of the major debate arenas in the coming years. The reason is simple: emotions are experienced by all humans on the planet and therefore fertile ground to be able to reach out and explain to the common person. It is an opportunity too grand to ignore, nor a path not to be taken.

Since I have declared that emotion studies will play a more important role in the future, I therefore highly recommended the book as part of your permanent library. But, be forewarned: the material is painstakingly presented in science journalese, (as it should be), and as such, it is not recommended for beginners. The print is small (two columns to a page) and the price high,  (about $70 retail, and seems to lumber on forever with its 710 pages of material and references.

But the important thing to remember: it is a gold mine in the rough and you are the pickaxe.

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