Most of this book was in manuscript form in Paul's briefcase when he died in June 1988. He had written it during a recent sabbatical year we spent in Paris. It came out of fieldwork we did as a family in 1974-76 in the small town of Djibo, in Burkina Faso. When we returned to the United States, Paul became immersed in teaching, to which he was devoted, and was preoccupied with tenure, health problems, family life, and requests to write articles and attend conferences on subjects that interested him, such as aging and development, but which were not his main research project. He managed to write several articles related to his main interests, in particular on the person and the life cycle, and on the irrelevance of child rearing to personality formation, but as time passed he grew more and more frustrated. He felt he had been writing too many theoretical articles and wanted to get down to the more ethnographic writing of the book to back them up.
Much of the year before the sabbatical was spent organizing his materials into a data base and he actually started writing on his computer at our apartment on rue Montbrun in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, in late fall of 1986. He had hoped to finish the whole book by the end of the sabbatical year and felt very disap