Sociologist Joseph A. Kahl wished to learn of “the contrast in values about work and career that would differentiate a ‘traditional’ from a ‘modern’ orientation” (p. ix). He therefore drew up questions whose replies seemed likely to separate “traditionalists” from “moderns” and submitted them to white collar and manual workers in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City. He also distributed them in some small Brazilian and Mexican towns, selected for being “as traditional as possible in general outlook” but “commercialized enough to have wage and salary workers” (p. 25). (The Brazilian communities were located in Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul, the Mexican in Morelos.) During 1960, 627 Brazilians were queried (184 of them “provincials”); three years later 740 Mexicans were queried (270 of them “provincials”). The resulting IBM cards were analyzed by computer.

The study surmounts an initial obstacle which would logically have been impassable without some definition of “modern” views and “modern” men. It turned out that in the case of seven out of fourteen value scales, “a man who is high on some will also be high on the others” (p. 21). These seven become the “‘core’ of modernism” (p. 37). Thus a “modern man” is an activist and an individualist who believes that an independent career is desirable and possible. “He prefers urban life to rural life, and he follows the mass Media” (p. 37).

“Modernism” appeared among the workers in the “traditional” communities almost to the same degree as in metropolitan centers. The surprising determinant of modernism is not metropolitan location but a good socioeconomic status (SES), based largely on education and occupational status. In a significant footnote Kahl remarks: “Insofar as there is a high correlation between modernism and SES, if there had not been stability of pattern within status levels, one would have feared that the syndrome of modernism was spurious, and represented in fact a syndrome of high-status values” (p. 39).

This technical monograph goes on to provide a wide range of statistically developed observations regarding education, occupation, fertility ideals, personal satisfaction, and political and work attitudes. The statistical tools allow great flexibility, so that one attribute after another can be controlled in order to show relations between other attributes.

Kahl’s scholarly statistical kaleidoscope reveals, among other things, that modern men are “opposed to, rather than content with, large companies” and that modern men are “not significantly different from the traditionists in their religious views and behavior” (p. 136). (These findings contradicted Kahl’s original predictions.) The Brazilians who were sampled favored smaller families than the Mexicans who were sampled. We learn that the “radicals, . . . contrary to much theorizing, . . . are fatalistic and rural in orientation” (p. 112).

The reader will not always be content with a passive role, but will want to interpret the data for himself. To some extent he will find this possible. He is due for at least a little frustration, however, particularly if he is not well informed about factor analysis and its most useful applications.