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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 vision of sociology reflected in the pages that follow. Thanks to them all for being who they are.

I also thank everyone at Unnamed Publisher for helping bring this text to fruition and for helping today’s students afford high-quality textbooks at a time when college costs keep rising while the economy keeps faltering. Special thanks go to Michael Boezi, Vanessa Gennarelli, and Gina Huck Siegert, 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. They include the following:

  • Marcia Andrejevich, Purdue University North Central Campus
  • Melissa Bonstead-Bruns, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
  • Clifford Broman, Michigan State University
  • Benjamin Brown, University of New Hampshire
  • Jennifer Brougham, Arizona State University
  • Thomas Busnarda, Niagara College, Welland, Ontario
  • Derral Cheatwood, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Alan Dahl, University of Kentucky
  • Wenqian Dai, University of South Dakota
  • Keri Diggins, Scottsdale Community College
  • Scott Dolan, University at Albany–SUNY
  • Charles Faupel, Auburn University
  • Fang Gong, Ball State University
  • Gayle Gordon Bouzard, Texas State University–San Marcos
  • Mark Gottdiener, University at Buffalo–SUNY
  • Gaetano Guzzo, Wright State University
  • Kellie Hagewen, University of Nebraska
  • Rahime-Malik Howard, Collin College/El Centro College
  • Jay Irwin, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Kristin Joos, University of Florida
  • Yoshinori Kamo, Louisiana State University
  • Todd Krohn, University of Georgia
  • Linda Kaye Larrabee, Texas Tech University
  • Jason Leiker, Utah State University
  • Royal Loresco, South Texas College
  • Suzanne Macaluso, Purdue University
  • Donald Mack, Tarrant County College
  • Stephanie Malin, Utah State University
  • William Martin, Binghamton University
  • Richard McMillan, University at Albany–SUNY
  • Joan Morris, University of Central Florida
  • Timothy O'Boyle, Kutztown University
  • Takamitsu Ono, University of Illinois
  • Antonia Randolph, University of Delaware
  • Fernando Rivera, University of Central Florida
  • Joseph Scimecca, George Mason University
  • Glenn Sims, Glendale Community College
  • Irena Stepanikova, University of South Carolina
  • Eric Strayer, Hartnell College
  • Chris Sutcliff, Lewis and Clark Community College
  • Ronald Thrasher, Oklahoma State University
  • William Tinney, University of South Carolina
  • Susan Wortmann, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Jun Xu, Ball State University
  • Yih-Jin Young, Nassau Community College

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 sons David and Joel have once again shared with me the joy and exhaustion of writing a textbook, and their patience has certainly been a virtue. I know they will share the gratitude I will feel when students read this text for free or at relatively low cost.

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.