Discover Magazine has named The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram (Basic Books, 2004) by UMBC psychology professor Thomas Blass as one of the Top 20 Science Books of 2004. The national honor is the latest accolade for Blass's biography of Milgram, one of the most controversial psychologists in modern history.
Milgram is best known for his "Obedience Experiments" carried out at Yale University in the 1960s. In the experiments, 65 percent of test subjects repeatedly gave seemingly real and painful electrical shocks to another subject (actually an actor) just because a scientific "authority figure" commanded them to. Milgram was also the originator of the "Six Degrees of Separation" theory.
Discover described Blass's book as "by turns both moving and chilling." The magazine's Top 20 Science Books list put "Shocked..." in good company beside other nationally honored nonfiction, including The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene, which was an Amazon.com Top Book of the Year. Blass' book was well received nationally by critics, including the Library Journal, American Scientist, the Washington Post, and the Jerusalem Post.
"I am delighted to be part of Discover's list of excellent books," said Blass. "This is the kind of honor that helps make 10 years of work worthwhile."
Blass, a social psychologist and Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, has studied Milgram for 15 years and authored over 20 publications and an equal number of academic papers on Milgram's life and work. He also runs the Web site www.stanleymilgram.com, devoted to preserving Milgram's legacy and connecting his research to current and historical events.