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Choice: The Best of Reason Hardcover – August 11, 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A political magazine of a different sort, Reason’s refusal to carry water for either Democrats or Republicans is deeply refreshing." -- Folio

"Astute and illuminating." -- Chicago Reader

"Choice offers a temperate, rant-free overview of some of our most enduring social controversies . . . [this is] a book you need." -- Kurt Loder

"Reason is sharp writing and sensible political discourse . . . for those weary of the screams from the left and the right." -- Joe Garden, The Onion

"[Ned Sublette] leaves his predecessors . . . in the dust." -- The Village Voice

About the Author

Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of Reason, a libertarian monthly magazine. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Salon.com, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He's also a frequent commentator on CNN's American Morning, C-SPAN's The Washington Journal, and NPR's All Things Considered. He lives in Oxford, Ohio.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 414 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; 1st edition (August 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932100318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100310
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,650,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Olmsted on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I should probably disclose at the outset that I received a copy of _Choice_ gratis, presumably because of my weblog. However, I've been a Reason subscriber for several years and I am generally favorably disposed to a magazine whose tag line is free minds and free markets.

_Choice_ collects some of the best articles from Reason from recent years and packages them with a pair of introductions from Drew Carey and Chris Hitchens. The editors did a great job of collecting articles, as this collection gathers a number of favorites I recalled from my own subscription alongside older articles I was quite pleased to have the chance to read. The philosophy of each article is generally consistent in favoring a more libertarian view of government, laying out the case in generally calm and reasoned tones that pursue argument rather than simple shouting. The various authors have their own roads to this goal, making the book a quick read even at 300+ pages.

_Choice_ is a great read regardless of political persuasion because the articles do a good job of following the facts to a conclusion rather than cherry-picking facts to support a conclusion. Liberals and conservatives will each find things to support and decry here, and they will all be challenged. _Choice_ also includes a number of interviews with luminaries like Norman Borlaug and Milton Friedman (and even Drew Carey).

If you're looking for something to support your point of view, _Choice_ may not be for you. But if you're looking for a collection of articles that will challenge you, this is the place to start.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a libertarian, I am often in a position of feeling quite equally distant from both the 'right' and the 'left.' The 'right' seeems to champion free-market principles and less government, but will defend regulation at the drop of a hat when freedom produces results it feels are immoral. By comparison, the 'left' champions such freedoms as that of speech and press and the rights of criminal defendants to due process, but argues for government incursion into most every area of the free market. What is a poor libertarian (believing in all of these freedoms at once) to do?

The answer: we turn to magazines like "Reason." This book consists of a good number of articles that Reason has published in recent years in defense of all that is liberty. As with any collection of disperate articles written over a span of many years, some articles are better than others (and, yes, I skipped a few of the worse ones). All in all, though, this book deserves four stars for writing forcefully and soundly on issues that concern the libertarian position (a position sorely lacking from dialogue dominated by the orthodox "left" and "right").

The book starts off with a bang - an article called "In Praise of Vulgarity" which argues that the role of entertainers pushing the envelope has done more than anything to break the traditionalistic strangle-hold on the culture(s) of the middle east. From there, we move to articles which argue that the commercialization of culture is a good thing, that anti-immigration policies hurt all involved, that the drug war is a cure worse than the disease, etc.

Perhaps most engaging, though, were the various interviews contained in these pages.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy picking this up and reading an article or two in between things. The collection has a wide range of topics which keeps the reader interested. I recently passed it on to a family member.
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Format: Paperback
It is very interesting to read the observations in this book on racism. That is, especially in light of the the views enunciated by Mr. Gillespie on a Fox cable channel recently. Namely that the real problem with prejudicial segregation in the past had not to do with entrenched racism of business owners, but with the government. And thus, collaterally, that the remedies given through the government against racism are part of the problem. This is absurd, from an historical perspective. In Gillespie's view, business owners would have been happy to allow non-racially based admittance to customers. It was the government that was the problem. And of course, in his view, still is. There are aspects of libertarianism that are attractive, in limited, discrete doses. But the fantasy about the hard forces of history is not, especially when writ large is not. It does not cohere with history, and makes no sense. Gillespie's comments inform his past work remarkably. It looks very suspicious in this light. Sadly, what we see is that his insights into the real tectonic shifts in politics are about at the level of an Elvis impersonator compared to great art.
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