I am a footnote reader. I keep two book marks in a text to ease the flips back and forth. I expect author/analysts to back up assertions with some source. Most claims in the book are easily verified, but certain passages become polemics. For example, around page 104 Ledbetter wants to show how govt. programs, even successes like the Erie Canal, are actually damaging to the economy. He points out that the damage they create(lost jobs in excess of any gains) is often remote from the cause(govt.picked winners)and therefore hard to recognize. I anticipate some real world statistics, some correlations even, to show how Ledbetter ferrets out those inevitable bad consequences- but they are not enumerable, remember? In the end, he offers the many costly failures of other public projects inspired by the canal success. So we should hold back successful works lest they inspire others who try and fail?? As I reflect on the massive corruption and incompetence in just my state and local governments(Erie Canal cities,incidently) I find myself wanting to agree.
He claims not to be A historian. I think what he really is is a philosopher who knows history. The quality of the writing and editing is top shelf. The authors biases are clear and the book reads best when he lets the facts of history make the case. His Libertarian perspective cuts like a knife through the buttery mythologized history our mass indoctrination system serves up. After I finish vol.1, I will be looking up some of the books he recommends in his bibliogrophy while I wait for him to produce vol.3.
Beyond the education the book has given me, it has a pure entertainment value also. A page turner I could not put down. I feel as though I owe the author more money.
In his Amazon author profile, Ledbetter writes, "I pursued linguistics, after discovering that Language - not literature, not foreign language, but language itself - was a window on the human mind." When he writes THAT book, I will be first in line.