This book began as a conversation in the corridors of the Murray Research Center at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and through these six years conversations have pushed this book forward. Some of these talks have been formal: Thank you to Wheelock College president Jackie Jenkins-Scott and athletic director Diana Cutaia, as well as University of Lowell professor Jeffrey Gerson. Bob Davoli generously provided us with a practice field in the business community where we could test our thesis in the company of unusually tough-minded (if not macho) audiences. Many professional political science associations over the years included us on panels where we benefited enormously from discussants’ constructive criticism; political scientist Kristin Goss at Duke University incorporated our work into her courses even before its publication, giving us a prescient preview of student’s-eye views. Harvard University’s Government Department, American Politics Workshop, was an invaluable forum for trial runs before going into print.
The Boston Globe Magazine, including former editors John Koch and Nick King, as well as current editor in chief Doug Most, gave our argument early airings. New York Times Education Life editor Jane Karr made room for a sports story in her section. We gained from small meetings and structured conversations with Bill Littlefield, Peter Roby, Cathy Inglese, and Barbara Lee.