Of all the scholars in the United States who are today toiling in the broad and steadily broadening field of sociology, Pitirim Sorokin is, I
believe, the only one who writes and thinks in the grand manner of the earlier social philosophers. He alone has shown a positive flare for systematic, or better said, architectonic thinking. Other and earlier of Sorokin's writings have exhibited the same talent for organizing facts in original and spacious patterns, but the volumes with which this review is concerned are undoubtedly the most characteristic and imposing expression of the author's philosophy, his scholarship and his peculiar genius for what I may describe as the structural organization of facts. The three volumes now published do not complete the author's work as originally planned. There is a fourth to follow, in which he will summarize his theory of social and cultural change, and discuss the logical aspects of the subject. The closing chapters will, the Preface informs us, take the form of a treatise on sociological methods. This final volume will, no doubt, clear up some obscure points in the discussion and bring into clearer light the theoretic implications of the facts as presented. But the
work in its main outlines, at least, is visibly here, and one may presume to comment upon it as a completed project. Surveying it then as a whole, one cannot fail to be impressed with the extraordinary amount of erudition that has gone into the making of these volumes, and with the dimensions of his task as the author conceived it—nothing less than a survey of the movement and changes of cultural
life during twenty-five hundred years of occidental history. If it were not for the derogatory implications which that word seems to have in
the author's vocabulary, one might describe it as colossal. To do that, however, would seem to put the project in the same category with the Woolworth Building and some other things that most Americans admire but Professor Sorokin deprecates because they are examples of colossalism.