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on January 7, 2016
Murray N. Rothbard has infuriated me! I learned exponentially more from this text than from every American history class I have ever taken and every history text book I was forced to purchase - combined. I paid $4 American (in 2014 dollars) for this collection on eBook. When compared to the several thousand I spent in college courses and American History text books, this has to be the greatest value ever. If Rothbard had only expanded his scope to include math, physical science, and engineering...well, I could have gotten my entire undergraduate education for less than $20. How dare he stick to the social sciences!

Seriously, Dr. Rothbard states in his preface that he set out to return the historical narrative to history, and he achieves his goal magnificently. Not only is his unique perspective integral in interpreting the events leading to the American Revolution, but he returns the "who, what, when, and where" back to history (and it's his perspective that is so integral in clarifying the "why"). My introduction was no exaggeration, and I can honestly say I learned more facts of history from this text that any course I have ever taken. I must admit my knowledge of colonial American history was pretty poor to begin with, but I was astonished at how much I learned about the American Revolution (a period of which I though I was much more versed).

Further, his "Liberty versus Power" perspective provides for ultimate clarity when determining the motivations behind colonial & revolutionary period events. Many of the mythical figures of the revolution lose their sainthood when checked through the prism of Rothbard's perspective. To say the least, Ben Franklin and Murray probably don't enjoy each others company at the Thursday night card game in the afterlife, as he shows Franklin to have been quite the opportunist - happy to take his turn at the public trough to enjoy the political largesse, and certainly no radical friend of liberty. Another spoiler, George Washington was NOT a military genius (I'll give you a minute to catch your breath.), ... but Rothbard's keen insight is not reserved for the moderates and conservatives, either, as he is just as forthright concerning Jefferson, Henry, and the typically more libertarian forefathers. More importantly, I learned many new figures of American (and British) history, and their importance to the struggle for liberty. As one example, I knew of Ethan Allen before this book, but Murray's coverage of Allen's struggles against the State of New York in protecting the lands of his Green Mountain community was new to me. That Allen managed to help protect the lands of the settlers in the region from feudal New York oligarchs attempting to confiscate their property, without ever killing a single person in the struggle, is nothing short of astonishing.

This is a rather voluminous work, and he does get mired in meticulous descriptions in an effort to be as thorough as possible (in his goal of getting the who, what, when, where back in history), but overall well worth it. Beyond this, his economic genius allows him to understand the ramifications of policy that would escape traditional historians. For $4 you can't go wrong, and to be honest it would be well worth much more to own this set in hardcover.
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on March 5, 2013
In spite of living in what we popularly call a "free" society, most people only ever learn (at most) one version of history. This is part of the reason why most people confuse historical analyses with historical facts. In this work, Murray Rothbard sets forth a libertarian version of early American history. This is history seen in the light of the conflict between justice and injustice, between power and liberty, which many people and most libertarians will argue is one of the main factors that makes the early history of the U.S. different from that of other countries.
Beginning with the founding of the English colonies on the eastern seaboard, Rothbard ruthlessly applies his power-vs.-freedom analysis to events well-known and some not-so-well known. Puritans are cast as petty religious tyrants, and Roger Williams, who fled from tyranny only to become a tyrant himself, is shown to be a hypocrite. Almost all colonists, with the exception of Quakers and Moravians, are judged guilty of injustice towards Indians. Revered figures such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are viewed in a skeptical light.
Not even all libertarians will agree with some parts of Rothbard's analyses, but there is no other work of history that I'm aware of that treats the topic of early American history in such a logical and consistent manner. One would hope that more historians would follow in Rothbard's footsteps.
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on May 18, 2014
I knew Dr. Rothbard and he was a stickler for the truth. We all grew up with the, well, myth, actually, about how this country began. I think it is important that we have a better and clearer picture of what actually happened and then we can continue correcting the errors that were made and building and expanding the virtues of Liberty that were the intellectual underpinnings of the United States. At times this can be a bit of a slog, but is definitely worth it!
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on November 14, 2013
If you always wanted to know more about the American Revolution, this is the book. It is readable , entertaining and never dry. It's divided into many chapters so you can reference subjects like a dictionary. Murray Rothbard is always fun to read and he always writes with common sense.
It's not just a history book about the early explorations of the continent to the founding of America, it's also an economics book. One caveat is that you have no excuse to skip his explanations of economics; he actually makes sense.
This history book is actually 4 volumes in one book and will tell you more than you ever dreamed about the American colonies and how they came to form a nation.
Rothbard is never a windy romantic or hypocritical deconstructionist; he is brilliant and honest throughout. It's a common sense in a real history book.
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on February 22, 2013
This excellent history by Murray Rothbard thoroughly examines the economic, social, and political forces which shaped the early United States. Some of those crucial forces are rarely discussed in public education, making this an incredibly valuable resource. It tackles many popular myths while using our history as a test lab to prove the benefits of liberty and free markets. It is suited for both the interested citizen and serious academic alike. Having majored in history, I can tell you that you'll get far more from a serious read of this $30 book than you will in $3000 of American history at most colleges.
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on October 6, 2012
Not the easiest or shortest of reads. I plan to start it over again eventually, except this time keep notes as I read. If the kindle has an index, I don't know how to use it. As the years pass in this book you are dealing with HUNDREDS of names, and it gets kind of tough using the "back" button. (But I guess thats between me and the kindle) A great look at a period that I never really gave much thought to. Man, what a tough time to be alive.
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on November 20, 2014
A lengthy detailed study of pre-Revolutionary war colonial history through the revolutionary war and the forming of the confederacy after Yorktown. It includes extensive review of British politics and conflict during the colonial period as well as other European attitudes and the effects on attitudes in Europe. This is aspect not seen in most American history books although referenced sources do cover various aspects of these effects.
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on February 13, 2012
This is a MUST READ for any serious student of history! It is extremely well written, in depth (~1600 pages!) and covers all aspects of American life from the discovery of America on up to the end of the Revolutionary War. It's really sad that this book has received such little attention. If there was only one book that I could recommend on the founding of America, it would be this one. Few books have influenced me more than Conceived in Liberty.
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on December 1, 2016
The best! All Americans should read the "true" story as Rothbard tells it. Extensive documentation and reference to other sources should satisfy any history buff. And what an exciting tale it is!
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on October 15, 2014
The definitive book on modern Libertarianism. This book has changed my thinking on politics and my views on the current political parties. I believe the Libertarian philosophy has a place among the existing, established parties and can be a constructive force for change.
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