Can great books live on, even in the Internet age? The re-release of an old classic argues yes.
Every now and then a book comes along that both sums up and extends the collected wisdom of some science. Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises, was such a book. Fifty years after it first came out, it is still one of the classics of economics....
There are few economic subjects Mises doesn't touch on in Human Action. Mises clearly explains a range of complex economic ideas -- from inflation to monopoly to government interference in the market. He examines and debunks Marxist notions of class conflict and capitalist exploitation of workers. And he outlines a powerful theory of the causes of business cycles.
But Mises goes beyond pure economics, defending the idea of science and logic itself. His criticisms of those who hold there is no such thing as objective truth seem relevant today when many in the academy decry reason as a tool used to oppress others.
Few books remain in print for 50 years. And few still speak to the vital debates of the day. Human Action is one of those.
This edition has dusk jacket but no protective slip case! --Investor's Business Daily, April 6, 1999
From the Publisher
The Scholar's Edition is the pride and joy of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Since our founding in 1982, we had wanted to issue an edition of Human Action in an edition worthy of its contents.
Three factors came together to make it essential this year: the 50th anniversary of the book, the discovery that changes and omissions in the 1963 and 1966 editions were more extensive and deleterious than had previously been known, and the unearthing of archives at Yale University and Grove City College that were used in the preparation of the introduction.
We spared no expense with this book, using the finest binding, paper, and printing available. Everyone who has purchased it has been astonished at its quality and sheer beauty. At last, with this Scholar's Edition, the master's great work is restored for the ages.
Murray N. Rothbard had it right when he said of the 1949 edition: "Every once in a while the human race pauses in the job of botching its affairs and redeems itself by producing a noble work of the intellect.... To state that Human Action is a must' book is a great understatement. This is the economic bible for the civilized man."
The Scholar's Edition is printed on stunning, pure white, acid-free Finch Fine 50 lb. paper; carefully set in the reading and beautiful Janson typeface, including the 1954 index, the most comprehensive ever done; covered in spectacular dark azure Odyssey cloth from Prague, the finest natural-finish, moisture-resistance book fabric in the world; secured by the finest caliper Binders board; protected by an impressive slipcase from the famous Old Dominion company; graced with antique-soapstone endpapers from Ecologic Fibers; casebound with the strongest Smyth-sewn signatures; fitted at head and foot with silken endbands, thick wrapped for durability; complemented with a double-faced, satin-finish ribbon marker; stamped with brilliant, non-tarnishing gold foil from Japan's Nakai International; and produced at R.R. Donnelly's famed Crawfordsville Bindery, where's America's finest books are assembled.
All told, The Scholar's Edition is ready for a lifetime or two of use.