An exploration of the lives and ideas of the theorists who have shaped and continue to forge traditions in sociology. It focuses on the great names of the field, ranging from the "Prophets of Paris" (Saint-Simon and Comte) to those of the late twentieth century. Significant biographical detail provides a context - historical, societal, political and economic - for understanding their ideas. Complex theories are presented in a style that is fluid rather than highly structured. The major changes of the fifth edition are the inclusion of a new chapter on the women's revolution in sociology, and an extended treatment of the development of African-American sociology focusing on W.E.B. Dubois.