Oxford University Press will publish Don Katzner’s, To the Edge of Camelot: A History of the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1965-1981. The book is expected to appear towards the end of 2011.
The book covers the period of time in which the Economics Department first rose from obscurity to become, for a brief moment, a significant, traditionally oriented department with a future Nobel Laureate and a future President of the University of Chicago.
But, very quickly, this highly visible faculty dissolved and was replaced, also very quickly, by an even more visible group of radical political economists. Contrary to what one might have expected, the latter replacement took place at a public university during the height of the Cold War when the fear of communism and the Soviet Union was palpable throughout the country. It also added to the tensions that had been present in the department since the years of traditional orientation. These tensions were subsequently overcome, however, and the atmosphere in the Economics Department evolved into an exciting, stimulating and interesting intellectual environment.