Review by Choice Review
Levelt (emer., founding director, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) tells the stories of the pioneers of medicine, psychology, education and linguistics who first asked how language is supported by the brain. The book is organized into short subsections on particular individuals and is supplemented with details, photos, and diagrams that hold readers' interest. Levelt organizes the content into four sections and several themes. Part 2 covers the establishment of the discipline from 1770 to 1990, from Johann Gottfried Herder's essay on the origins of language through diary and brain studies to Wilhelm Wundt's grand synthesis. Part 3 examines 20th-century psycholinguistics to 1950, focusing on experimental research and the work of Burrhus Frederic Skinner, Charles Osgood, Hildegard Hetzer, Jean Piaget, and others. Part 3 also treats the impact of Nazism on psycholinguistic thought. Parts 1 and 4 are single chapters focusing on the postwar work in the early 1950s that began to synthesize a new interdisciplinary field (one that would soon be reimagined by Noam Chomsky's cognitive revolution). At 671 pages, this is a narrative encyclopedia of language-oriented psychology. Levelt has done scholars and readers a great service with a comprehensive and very readable history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. E. L. Battistella Southern Oregon University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.