As a management researcher, I am interested in sociological theories because they are important to the field of management, especially on organisation theory. I bought 'Sociological Theory: Classical Statements' in order to familiarise myself with the theorists who have most influenced the development of the sociology. I was not disappointed.
The authors, David Ashley and David Orenstein, present the works of 11 theorists--Comte, Durkheim, Spencer, Hegel, Marx, Weber, Simmel, Freud, Pareto, Veblen and Mead. The authors convincingly argue that in order to understand the ideas of these men, students need to understand the theorists' personal biographies and the intellectual and socio-political circumstances in which the ideas were produced. The book dedicates one chapter to each theorist. The chapters begin with a summary of the authors' biographies. The biographies are followed by a presentation of the authors' ideas about the individual and society. Each chapter ends with a discussion of the influence of the given theorist on U.S. sociology.
Ashley and Orenstein are sufficiently critical in their assessment of the authors' significance. They tackle thorny interpretations in current sociological debate such as Hegel's supposed pre-figuring of the Nazis, Durkheim's forgotten critical stance toward society and Weber's epistemology. Further, the book contains a detailed bibliography at the end of each chapter. To sum, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; I recommend highly.