Emotions: What They Are and How They Affect Us


264 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-385-19976-7





Reviewed by Marshall Fine

Marshall Fine was Assistant Professor of Family Studies, University of Guelph, Ontario.


This book describes precisely what its title suggests. In the opening chapter entitled “Emotions,” Callwood explores the general nature and kinds of emotions experienced by the human species. The main body of the text is divided into chapters which review the research, examine the origins, and explore the human side of love, hate, fear, anger, courage, guilt, ambition, depression, anxiety, and happiness. She concludes the book with a chapter on maturing in which she outlines the thinking of theorists, therapists, and researchers on what the mature person might be like.

Callwood acquires her material from the leading professional figures within the area of emotion she explores. The material is therefore well founded in the academic sense. The material also presents the human side of emotions — she incorporates the thoughts of some well-known lay personalities. She covers each area carefully and fully, spotlighting the most cogent information. The reader can gain a good basic sense of what is known of particular emotions.

Emotion is not a simple topic. Callwood manages to convey the notion that emotions are not simply internal maladjustments of the mind, but are products of a combination of biological, individual, family and social interrelations and contexts. She has taken what could be confusing and misleading information and has drawn a relatively clear and concise picture of the emotions experienced in various degrees by human beings.

On a personal bevel, I found that I could relate well to Callwood’s descriptions of the emotions experienced by all of us to some degree or another. It was a good exercise in trying to determine where I fit on the emotional continuum (something I rarely have done so actively since my student days). I was confronted with my emotional sore spots as well as what I determine to be my strengths. Callwood made me think, and question myself, and that in itself made the book beneficial.

In general, I found the book to be well written, clear, balanced, and informative. It is a book that both lay and professional people will find useful and enjoyable.


Callwood, June, “Emotions: What They Are and How They Affect Us,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35419.