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Prophets of Regulation: Charles Francis Adams; Louis D. Brandeis; James M. Landis; Alfred E. Kahn [Kindle Edition]

Thomas K. McCraw
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"There is properly no history, only biography," Emerson remarked, and in this ingenious book Thomas McCraw unfolds the history of four powerful men: Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, and Alfred E. Kahn. The absorbing stories he tells make this a book that will appeal across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines and to all readers interested in history, biography, and Americana.

Editorial Reviews


A novel, stimulating approach...McGraw's effort to clarify the nature of regulation by carefully integrating biography, history of ideas and regulatory strategy pays handsome dividends...Each of these 'prophets' wrote extensively, even compulsively, about the theory and practice of regulation. McGraw skillfully melds their words and actions into a series of revealing intellectual portraits. (Washington Post Book World)

McGraw explains sophisticated economic theory in accessible terms, and he has a historian's knack for isolating such basic American traits as a mistrust of big business and for showing how regulators manipulated these traits to implement their policies. (New York Times Book Review)


An exceptionally good book on the development of government regulatory traditions in twentieth-century America, which illuminates as well the broader course of modern reform...[McGraw's] book will become a seminal work in the study of American regulation and reform.
--Alan Brinkley

Product Details

  • File Size: 5866 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (November 14, 1986)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GUDG9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,045 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating December 12, 2004
The book chronicles tidy snapshots of the lives and careers of 4 different men whose influence in corporate regulation remains unrivaled. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Brandeis. It is terribly unfortunate to contemporary American society that a man like Justice Louis Brandeis is not still alive and a sitting judge with the Supremes. Brandeis's intellect and legacy puts the 9 slugs currently sitting on the bench to shame.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could be better August 17, 2003
Government regulation of business is always a topic of controversy, but few people know anything about its origins. This book provides a history of the origins of government regulation in the US, by specifically focusing on four important individuals and how they shaped US regulations. Though they are important, their influence was primarily through the executive and judicial branches of the federal government. The book should have included a great legislator along with the four individuals it focused on.
The book is tedious and dry, but not difficult to read. The topic matter is well explained with lots of references, but a lot of text could (and should) have been replaced with charts, graphs, flowcharts, and timelines. I would not recommend this book as an introductory text to government regulations, but more for the well-read observer.
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