Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Voyage Cyber Monday Video Game Deals Outdoor Deals on HTL
Radicals for Capitalism and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $21.95
  • Save: $6.98 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Radicals for Capitalism: ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement Paperback – May 27, 2008

40 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$8.39 $1.96

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$14.97 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
  • +
  • Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
  • +
  • The Law
Total price: $30.05
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Modern libertarians see themselves as the loyal opposition to the totalitarian tendencies of centralized power, in an American tradition reaching back to the anti-Federalists. Doherty's astute history shows where that consensus comes from and where it fractures along personal, political and practical lines. As a procapitalist and antistatist philosophy, libertarianism has had its greatest impact in economics. But Doherty shows that modern libertarianism since the 1940s, and increasingly since the 1980s, has been politically and ideologically influential, too. Whether believers in a small state regulating only contracts and national defense, or no state at all (like self-described “anarcho-capitalist” Murray Rothbard), libertarians have rooted themselves in a number of institutions—from schools, publications and think tanks to the Libertarian Party, the country's third-largest ticket. Reason magazine senior editor Doherty conveys an insider's understanding in clear, confident prose. However, his sympathies resist questioning the fundamental assumption uniting diverse ideas, personalities and institutions: the belief in the power of completely unfettered markets to bring about the best possible society. Though partisan and sometimes hagiographic, Doherty's well-researched history avoids polemics in outlining a vital political orientation that cuts across the political spectrum.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Doherty helps explain why libertarianism is the biggest political movement nobody ever heard of." -- Chicago Sun-Times, July 5, 2007

"Doherty's fascinating and, indeed, freewheeling history reminds us that curmudgeonly people can shape the world too" -- The American, February 5, 2007

"Mr. Doherty has rescued libertarianism from its own obscurity, eloquently capturing the appeal of the 'pure idea.'" -- The Wall Street Journal online, February 15, 2007

"[Doherty's] fierce intelligence growls at your from the page." -- BBC Focus, June 1, 2007

"[Doherty] has done an impressive job of pulling together an interesting, enlightening, and entertaining history of the American libertarian movement." -- (Laissez Faire Books)

"[Doherty] has written what should be the standard intellectual history of libertarianism.... comprehensive and insightful... clear, wry prose." -- City Journal, April 20, 2007

"quite simply, the best book of its kind ever extraordinary extremely entertaining and informative ride..." -- National Review, May 14, 2007

"remarkably engaging and encyclopedic history" -- New York Sun, January 24, 2007

"serious, comprehensive history of libertarianism... this scholarly and far-reaching account is necessary for collections of modern American history and politics." -- Library Journal, March 1, 2007

"Brian Doherty's sympathetic, well-informed and endlessly entertaining tour traces the ways in which American libertarianism punches above its weight." -- The Financial Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 741 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586485725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485726
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine and He is the author of three previous books, including Radicals for Capitalism: A History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement and Gun Control on Trial. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, National Review, and The Weekly Standard, among other publications. He has been a commentator on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including The O'Reilly Factor and Glenn Beck Show. He lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What a great read! Doherty researched his subject (and subjects) almost exhaustively and gave a sometimes breezy, sometimes dense, all the time entertaining portrait of Libertarianism and its founders. Libertarians (and I count myself as one) who boast that their "time has come" are as deluded as the conspiracy nuts who KNOW that Bush is in cohoots with Osama, Saddam, Jews, Saudis, Nazis, aliens - take your pick. I've always contended that Libertarianism will never be a political force because of the very nature of the philosophy - an anti-collectivist attitude that rejecting the sublimation of the individual to the group that is the hallmark of modern politics. In this Brave New World, everything from bathroom flushes to the size of holes in Swiss cheese is politicized. Incredibly, there are those who argue these issues with the passion of the newly converted - I mark it down to the substitution of ideology for religion.

Libertarians are critical thinkers, intelligent and questioning. Even a casual perusal of this work makes that evident. They somehow found the intellectual fortitude to reject the overwhelming majority belief in a nanny State. The movement has the highest percentage of atheists of any political group and yet, for all their smarts, they are constantly battling one another. They can only agree on the broadest and vaguest concepts - non-coercion, limited government, individual and property rights. Maybe it's the absence of the ubiquitious "Vote for me and I'll start a program" politics that voters need. The personalities in the book are heavy hitters - Von Mises, Rand, Rothbard, Hayek, Freidman and then there are all the others - Ron Paul, Popper, Brown, etc. Rand is mainly discussed through her fiction although her non-fiction is almost highlighted.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM is a remarkably thorough history of American libertarianism, beginning with the founding of the nation and progressing through modern times. Author Brian Doherty is a libertarian himself, but he is fair and balanced in evaluating the victories, failures, eccentricities, and evolution of the libertarian movement.

Although the book begins with "individual anarchists" who considered themselves part of the worldwide socialist movement of the nineteenth century, Doherty mostly focuses on the post-WWII libertarian movement, which he examines through the lives and thoughts of five eminent figures: Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard. This is not to say that these are the only figures dealt with in depth - Rose Wilder Lane, Leonard Read, the Koches, etc. are also surveyed at length - but through the proxy of these five libertarian giants, Doherty does a remarkable job at encapsulating the movement's history.

The dominant themes of this 619-page tome (740 pages in all - but over a hundred pages are in footnotes, the index, etc.) are the external clash between libertarianism and conservatism, and the internal clash between anarchism and minarchism. Conservatives were natural allies of the libertarian movement during the New Deal, but time and time again, they proved to be duplicitous partners. I was surprised to learn that both the National Review and the even more right-wing Human Events were both originally (at least partially) libertarian organs, but were soon purged of independent thought by cold-warrior traditionalists.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Every movement deserves its 700 page history and Brian Doherty has written an outstanding one for the libertarian movement. He focuses on five seminal libertarian thinkers, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman, but certainly doesn't ignore the other people who have made the movement so colorful. The book is consistently enlightening and provides biographical details of its major players that I didn't know. And, contrary to those who would rewrite history, Doherty makes it clear that Rand's "Objectivist" movement left a trail of broken lives in its wake, not the least of which was Rand's.

As other reviewers have noted, perhaps a few too many mistakes crept into this book and there are certainly some questionable judgments, but this is "our history" and all libertarians should be grateful to Mr. Doherty.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
70 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Izaak VanGaalen on March 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Libertarians maintain that every person has sovereign ownership of his or her body and is free in his or her pursuit of life, liberty, and property, as long as they do not interfere with the pursuit of life, liberty, and property of others. This sounds like commonsense to the American ear. In fact our republic, born of the Enlightenment, was based on these principles. The problem, however, comes in when theory is translated into practice. In order to secure those rights and freedoms government intervention is required. Libertarians believe government intervention should be minimal (minarchists), others believe there should be none at all (anarchists).

Brian Doherty, editor of the libertarian magazine Reason, has written a very long and informative history of the libertarian movement. He focuses, in the first part of his book, on five key thinkers who kept the movement alive during the era of big government - an era which we are still in. Those five were Ludwig von Mises and Freidrich Hayek of the Austrian school of economics, novelist and philospher Ayn Rand, philosopher Murry Rothbard, and economist Milton Friedman.

Libertarianism was actually synonymous with classical liberalism of the 19th century, both advocating minimal government and free market capitalism. In the 20th century, liberalism became identified with the Progressive movement in the US and socialism in Europe. As people began to agitate for "more rights," more government meddling was welcomed. In Europe, coming out of a depression, this led to Nazism in Germany and Communism in the Soviet Union.

The Austrian school was a backlash against these two collectivist movements, which von Mises and Hayek saw as the greatest threat to human liberty.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
This item: Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
Price: $14.97
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: anarchy 101, anarcho capitalist, anarcho capitalism, like macbride