As always in my books, I express my personal and professional debt to two sociologists, Norman Miller and Forrest Dill. Norman Miller was my first sociology professor in college and led me in his special way into a discipline and profession that became my life’s calling. Forrest Dill was my adviser in graduate school and helped me in ways too numerous to mention. His untimely death shortly after I began my career robbed the discipline of a fine sociologist and took away a good friend.

My professional life since graduate school has been at the University of Maine, where my colleagues over the years have nurtured my career and provided a wonderful working environment. I trust they will see their concern for social problems reflected in the pages that follow. Thanks to them all for being who they are.

I also thank everyone at for helping bring this text to fruition and for helping today’s students afford high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks at a time when college costs keep rising while the economy keeps faltering. Special thanks go to Michael Boezi, Vanessa Gennarelli, and Denise Powell, who all worked tirelessly to make this book the best it could be. My efforts also benefited greatly from the many sociologists who reviewed some or all of the text. These reviewers were tough but fair, and I hope they are pleased with the result. As every author should say, any faults that remain are not the reviewers’ responsibility. I am grateful to include their names here:

  • Celesta Albonetti, University of Iowa
  • Anne Barrett, Florida State University
  • Sarah Becker, Louisiana State University
  • Laurian Bowles, Western Illinois University
  • Joyce Clapp, Guilford College
  • Mary Fischer, University of Connecticut
  • Otis Grant, Indiana University–South Bend
  • Art Houser, Fort Scott Community College
  • Michael Kimmel, SUNY at Stony Brook
  • Matthew Lee, University of Akron
  • William Lockhart, McLennan Community College
  • Brea Perry, University of Kentucky
  • Nancy Reeves, Rowan University
  • Daniel Roddick, Rio Hondo College
  • Debra Welkley, California State University–Sacramento

In addition to these reviewers, I would also like to thank Joel Barkan for his valuable comments that improved Chapter 15 “Population and the Environment”’s discussion of environmental problems involving oceans and ocean life.

Authors usually save the best for last in their acknowledgments, and that is the family members to whom they owe so much. Barbara Tennent and our grown sons David and Joel have once again shared with me the joy and effort of writing a textbook. I know they will share my gratitude when students read this text for free or at relatively low cost. Our dog, Sadie, kept me company while I was writing the book but passed away suddenly during its final stages. Her unique spirit and joy of life brought us much laughter and excitement (both the good kind and the bad kind), and I hope that doggie heaven has survived her entry. The squirrels, rabbits, and birds there should watch out!

I have saved two family members for the very last, and they are my late parents, Morry and Sylvia Barkan. They have been gone many years, but whatever I have achieved in my personal and professional life, I owe to them.