In the early 1960s, Stanley Milgram conducted a series offamous experiments proving that average citizens would readily inflictpainful electric shocks on strangers if they were instructed orencouraged to do so by an authority figure. This biography byUniversity of Maryland professor Blass provides a valuable examinationMilgrams work and his contributions to the field of socialpsychology. Blass discusses Milgrams education and career choicesfrom the mid-1950s to the 70s. He talks at length about thescientists training and experiences at Queens College and at Harvard,and about his teaching and research appointments at universities suchas Princeton, Yale and the City University of New York. He describesin greatat times exhaustingdetail the controversialexperiments Milgram devised and conducted over the years. And heconsiders how Milgrams research changed the way "we thinkabout
the role of moral principles in social life." Milgramspersonal life, however, gets the short shrift in thisnarration. References to the psychologists use of cocaine, marijuanaand mescaline are brief and undeveloped; mentions of his wife, Sasha,and their children, Michele and Marc, seem somewhat perfunctory. Thisinattention to matters of personality may limit the booksaudience. But, as the first comprehensive biography of Milgram,Blasss study nonetheless remains an important contribution to thefield of science history. 8 pages of b&w photos.
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