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September/October 2009


Be on the lookout for Gene Dattel’s book, Cotton and Race in the Making of America: The Human Price of Economic Power, scheduled for release in October. Having seen the jacket blurbs written by ten well-known and well-respected academics and others, it sounds like a truly fascinating and important book. An example: “Gene Dattel turns economic history into a gripping narrative, in this sweeping synthesis of an important but underappreciated chapter in the American past. From Whitney’s gin to the mechanical picker, Dattel shows just how close the links have been between King Cotton and the race issue. This book is highly recommended.” –Gavin Wright, professor of economics at Stanford. Probably the most interesting of the blurbs to us is the extremely favorable one written by former Yale professor Staughton Lynd. Gene explained the background: “I contacted him in November 2008 after not speaking with him since 1964! I took his course and Robin Wink’s seminar at Yale. I don’t think that many Yale graduates get a blurb from a professor 45 years after his course. Lynd was important to our class because he led the educational part of the Mississippi civil rights summer in 1964. Many of our class were exposed to him. The symmetry is quite appealing.”