This is the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most scurrilous incidents in academic publishing. The victim was Ludwig von Mises. The perpetrator was Yale University Press.
Yale University Press published the 1949 edition of Human Action. Sales were much higher than the editor had expected. It was a 900-page treatise on economics, written by an immigrant from Germany who was teaching at an undistinguished university. He was out of favor with the now-dominant Keynesian establishment. The book sold for $10, which in 1949 was the equivalent in today’s money of $98. Who would have imagined that it would go through six printings?
In 1962, it went out of print. I remember attending a week-long evening seminar by Mises that summer. It was sponsored by Andrew Joseph Galambos. Attendees could not buy Human Action.
Mises wanted to revise the book. The replacement editor allowed this. But he would not allow Mises to see the page proofs in early 1963. Mises had asked.
When the book appeared, it was a typesetting atrocity. The editor did not pay for a new typesetting job. Instead, he hired a typesetter to typeset revised sections. Then the man then pasted over the old edition. The changes were made in bold face. They did not match the original edition. The result was an aesthetic disaster.
My edition has this title page. On the page is an addition. It is attached to the page by Scotch tape.
(For the rest of the story, click the link.)