Review by Choice Review
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky is the exemplar of someone whose ideas were in advance of his times. Born in the late 19th century and dead at the age of 37 (in 1934 of tuberculosis), Vygotsky was a pioneering developmental psychologist who emphasized the effects of social interaction in development. Daniels (Univ. of Bath), Cole (Univ. of California, San Diego), and Wertsch (Washington Univ., St. Louis) have put together a collection that is comprehensive and nuanced. They divide the essays into sections that consider, first, Vygotsky's work in historical context, then his written work, then applications of his work. The contributing scholars, drawn from around the world, look at both Vygotsky's central ideas--including the zone of proximal development and his stages of human development--and also his less-understood concepts, for example, the theme of meditation in his ideology. The essays make comparisons between Vygotsky and other prominent figures in developmental theory, e.g., Herbert Mead and Jean Piaget, and between Vygotsky and thinkers who influenced his work and are less well known (e.g., Gustav Shpet). An excellent introduction and a much-needed clarification for those who think they are familiar with Vygotsky. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. D. M. Chirico York College CUNY
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