This is a difficult book to review for multiple reasons. The authors attempt to correlate mental illness with sociological and social-psychological concepts. The massive data they assembled and analyzed were geared to test specific hypotheses, and secondarily, attempt to identify some of the dependent intervening variables. The result is a study of impressive scope and detail which has importance to psychiatrists, psychologists, social planners at all levels of government, civil rights leaders, businessmen, and educators, to name only a few.
The authors focus on the failure of Negroes to share in the American Dream. Their basic hypothesis is that the discrepancy between aspiration and achievement can be pathogenic. The subjects are part of a large group of Americans exposed to stimuli which inculcate the urge toward upward mobility, while the society remains closed to their attempts to achieve such goals. Because of their unique position in American society, the Negro