“Almost Any Catastrophe Would Fit Into Harvard Professor’s Thesis”


‘almost any catastrophe would fit into Harvard’ prof’s thesis’ – Balt Sun 10-2-1935


He Told Us So

Almost Any Catastrophe Would Fit Into Harvard Professor’s Thesis

By U. P. Ives

The Baltimore Sun, October 2, 1939, pg. 8


Full article posted above as a downloadable PDF file.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     March 2018

reviews of “Hunger as a Factor in Human Affairs” by Pitirim A. Sorokin


Robert Bierstedt review of ‘Hunger as a Factor’ – Social Forces

Carle C. Zimmerman review of ‘Hunger as a Factor’ – Social Science


In my post about the Russian-American sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin, at

“Sorokin” («Сорокин»)

I stressed the originality and importance of Sorokin’s book Hunger as a Factor in Human Affairs, which I feel deserves to be better known.

Posted here are two reviews of the book which discuss its merits and the circumstances under which it was written and published:

review of Hunger as a Factor in Human Affairs by Robert Bierstedt, Social Forces, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Sep., 1976), pp. 195-196

review of Hunger as A Factor in Human Affairs by Carle C. Zimmerman, Social Science, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Spring 1976), Pp. 113-114

Robert Bierstedt (1913–1998) was a student of Sorokin’s who became a leading American sociologist. He headed the department of sociology at City College of New York and at New York University before becoming emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

Carle C. Zimmerman (1897-1983) was a longtime colleague of Sorokin’s at the University of Minnesota and Harvard University.


— Roger W. Smith

      December 2017

“Sorokin in Review”


William T. Liu, ‘Sorokin in Review’ – The Review of Politics 1966


This seminal article on the Russian American sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin appeared in The Review of Politics in January 1966. Ostensibly a review of Sorokin’s autobiography, A Long Journey, which had just been published, the article is actually an assessment of Sorokin’s life, career, and oeuvre. It addresses controversies going on at the time which involved a defense of Sorokin being undertaken by renowned sociologists, and in which there was controversy over how theoretical as opposed to empirical sociology should be.

The article is posted above as downloadable PDF file.

William T. Liu, “Sorokin in Review,” The Review of Politics, 28:1 (January 1966), pp. 99-105.


— Roger W. Smith

    September 2017

a bitter exchange (Brinton, Sorokin)


Crane Brinton, ‘Socio-Astrology’


‘Historionics’ (Sorkin Reply to Crane Brinton)




A remarkable exchange between Harvard history professor Crane Brinton and Pitirim A. Sorokin, then chairman of Harvard’s Department of Sociology, occurred in 1937 and 1938 in the pages of The Southern Review, a respected journal. That it appeared in The Southern Review, a literary journal, rather than a journal devoted to history or sociology, is noticeable.

Professor Brinton’s article comprised as an appraisal of the first three volumes of Sorokin’s magnum opus, Social and Cultural Dynamics. It was not a standard review, by any means; it was, in fact an essay-review. It was over twenty pages long. Professor Sorokin’s rejoinder was about ten pages long.

Brinton attacks Sorokin with no holds barred, criticizing everything from the methodology and assumptions underlying the work to what he views as Sorokin’s atrocious prose style. Sorokin, clearly stung by the review, responded with a strenuous defense of his work in which he seemed at times to be on the defensive and in other sections of his rejoinder essay tried to even the score with a vigorous counterattack.

The two articles are posted above as downloadable PDF files.

Crane Brinton, Socio-Astrology, The Southern Review, vol. 3 (fall 1937), pp. 243-266

Pitirim A. Sorokin, “Histrionics,” The Southern Review, vol. 3 (winter 1938), pp. 554-564


— Roger W. Smith

     August 2017