Albrow, Martin. Max Weber’s Construction of Social Theory. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. Excellent extended introduction to most of the elements of Weber’s social theory, including his personal, historical, and intellectual background. Carefully organizes and clarifies the many complicated thematic strands of Weber’s work.
Brubaker, Rogers. The Limits of Rationality: An Essay on the Social and Moral Thought of Max Weber. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1984. Careful and persuasive presentation of Weber’s profoundly influential concept of “rationalization” in its various forms. Presents Weber as an ethicist and analyst of modernity and its crises.
Collins, Randall. Max Weber: A Skeleton Key. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1986. Superb brief introduction to Weber’s life and thought as well as to some of the critical issues in Weber scholarship. Excellent starting point for further study.
Diggins, John Patrick. Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy. New York: Basic Books, 1996. A passionately and clearly written account of Weber’s life as well as of his ethical and political perspective. Uses Weber’s lifelong interest in the United States as a vehicle to explore his relevance to late twentieth century American thought and history.
Lehmann, Hartmut, and Guenther Roth, eds. Weber’s Protestant Ethic: Origins, Evidence, Contexts. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Excellent collection of scholarly essays covering a wide range of late twentieth century assessments of Weber’s famous Protestant ethic thesis.
Morrison, Ken. Marx, Durkheim, Weber: Formations of Modern Social Thought. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1995. Provides an accessible and careful survey of Weber’s key works in sociology and methodology. Includes a helpful glossary of Weberian terminology.
Ritzer, George. The McDonaldization of Society. Rev. ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 1996. A stimulating, troubling, and highly readable application of the Weberian concept of rationalization in an analysis of the “iron cages” of late twentieth century life.
Weber, Marianne. Max Weber: A Biography. Translated by Harry Zohn. New York: Wiley, 1975. An account of Weber’s life and times, amounting to an intellectual portrait of Weber and post-World War I Germany by an intimate participant.