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Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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'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 written...an extraordinary accomplishment...an 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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.
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great and rollicking review of those brilliant and sometimes wacky libertarians as they create the next evolution of human consciousness = to a world where force and fraud are the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Lee
I've read this tome twice and can't say enough nice things. If you are a movement libertarian, you MUST read this book, as it will place your ideas, and more importantly,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Bo Zimmerman
Doherty provides the most comprehensive history available to date on the Libertarian movement. A must read for anybody who supports, or opposes the libertarian movement.Published 19 months ago by Stephen Esposito
"Libertarians are critical thinkers, intelligent and questioning." Hm. Doherty is in fact a true believer and plumbs his subject with the uncritical fervor of the faithful (his... Read morePublished on September 24, 2013 by Blackhorse
I'm trying to understand the libertarian perspective. These books help. If I could only read one it would be
Inclined to Liberty.
Excellent summary of the Libertarian thought and activities, and written in a user-friendly language. This text can be used to teach Liberty Studies. Read morePublished on April 12, 2013 by Leon Zadov
An engaging, enthralling history of the remarkable cast of characters that made up the American Libertarian Movement. Read morePublished on March 30, 2013 by Dan Doherty
I must say, this is a very well written book. Not merely "good for a history book," but for any book, as far as the "holding ones attention through a book" measure goes. Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by John Tagliaferro