This text provides a comprehensive examination of classical sociological theory by introducing students to the life, times, and ideas of the figures who have had the greatest influence on the development of the field. Each chapter focuses on one theorist and his ideas, organized into a social and historical perspective. Students will enjoy reading the background information on each theorist covered in the book. These include such interesting highlights as Comte's days in military school, the death of Durkheim's son in World War I, Spencer's inability to commit to marriage, and Hegel's illegitimate son. Taking a critical and reflexive approach, the text also discusses how classical theory affects sociology today.