FIVE FAMILIES by Oscar Lewis


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From his earlier Life in a Mexican Village, this second study is localized in Mexico City and applies the same method of ""ethnological reportage"" Lewis has introduced and refined- so that by concentrating on one day in the life of a representative family, he offers a ""living picture of one segment"" of a society. While essentially a sociological study, it presents a culture in graphic, personal, humane, and often intimate terms, uses what is primarily a documentary technique to reveal the way these people live and think and feel. The overwhelming poverty, the replacement of the old, primitive existence by an ""unsatisfactory, impoverished"" existence, the breaking down of the culture for which nothing of value has been substituted, is what emerges from the study of five families- four lower class, one propertied, nouveau riche, as they are seen through the eyes of each member..... While perhaps limited to a special, professional audience- it is handled with considerable skill and it is a revealing soundtrack of a society.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1959
Publisher: Basic Books