Books in Brief, Feb. 15, 2011
The cover of the book by Kent Messer and Harry Kaiser.


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2:20 p.m., Feb. 15, 2011----Books in Brief is a roundup of recent books by University of Delaware faculty, staff and alumni.

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Kent Messer, assistant professor of food and resource economics and assistant professor of economics, has written a book on Mathematical Programming for Agricultural, Environmental and Resource Economics. The book is co-authored by Harry M. Kaiser of Cornell University.

Finding that many mathematical programming textbooks don't cover natural resource and environmental issues, Messer said that he and Kaiser decided to write a book that would address these. “My passion is the world of environmental and resource economics and I also work in agricultural economics, and so while there are many books on operations research and math programming, they end up being targeted towards MBA students. I thought that there are some unique applications to natural resource and environmental problems that these books just don't cover. And those are the areas that I am most interested in.”

Messer said that Kaiser does a lot of work on agricultural marketing, and since he had an interest in the subject too, they both decided to combine their interests and turn them into a book. “We were really pleased to have Wiley and Sons, a top flight publisher, be willing to publish this book, which will provide a global distribution network.”

The book is divided into two parts, with 13 chapters total. Each chapter contains at least 20 exercises and several research examples.

Messer said that the goal was “to make a reader-friendly textbook that would be great in the classroom and would develop the foundation of quantitative skills needed for research. Thus, the textbook doesn't just cover theory, but also provides instruction on how to bridge the gap between 'here are the techniques and here's how you apply them to research.'”

The book is geared toward graduate students as well as upper level undergraduates who might be looking at doing research in the area.

Messer said he plans to use the book in his future classes but also notes that he has been using parts of the book in his course in a paper version for the past four years. “My previous students have been great at 'proofing' the chapters and testing problems.”

For more information about the book, see the website.

William W. Boyer, the Charles P. Messick Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations, is the author of America's Virgin Islands: A History of Human Rights and Wrongs, the second edition of which is now out in both hardback and paperback from Carolina Academic Press. The work is described as the only history of the U.S. territory covering the period 1492 to 2010, and it places emphasis on the period since 1917 when the U.S. acquired the islands from Denmark.

“I had been hoping for a second edition of Dr. Boyer's 1983 book, and it does deliver a concise updating of the major political, constitutional and socio-economic developments of the U.S. Virgin Islands during the last three decades,” said Marilyn F. Krigger, professor emerita of history at the University of the Virgin Islands.

Gerard Mangone, University Research Professor of International and Maritime Law at UD, cites the book as “remarkable scholarship,” adding, “Clearly this work will be a hallmark for all students of the islands now and in the future.”

David Shearer, professor of history, was recently interviewed about his book, Policing Stalin's Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953, (Yale University Press, 2009). The 50-minute interview was part of the series, New Books in History. The full interview is at this website.