This is a valuable book of readings which draws on knowledge developed by many disciplines. Its unique contribution lies in the view of the family presented by the editor, the essential quality of which is contained in the title. Handel views the family as a viable psychosocial system. As a system the whole is characterized by functions experienced as processes that are not simply the sum of their parts but serve purposes of the system as a whole.
The readings are coherently organized in seven sections, each offering a central theme. Part I presents a framework for observing families as wholes. Part VII analyzes and evaluates where the study of families as wholes stands at the present time as well as suggesting some future directions. The papers in the intervening sections consist of a number of previously unpublished as well as previously published works. As usual in an