- Series: The Right wing individualist tradition in America
- Hardcover: 262 pages
- Publisher: Arno Press (1972)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0405004257
- ISBN-13: 978-0405004254
- Package Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,451,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority (The Right Wing Individualist Tradition in America) Hardcover – 1972
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From Scientific American
"There's a book you should read," Ruth Dazey, my secretary, said one day.
Preoccupied, I nodded. Pencil and pad at hand I said, "Title and author, please."
"Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane."
I scribbled the information. "Fine. Thanks."
It took awhile to locate a copy. Discovery of Freedom wasn't available in book stores, but a worn volume was finally found in a used book emporium and the purchase was made. I took the book home with me and began to read it that very evening.
I was captivated, enthralled, caught up in the grandeur of the concepts which marched one after another across the pages.
Here is an epic depicting the story of humanity. It provided a backdrop and spotlighted performances by its stars. It is philosophy and history at the same time. But it is a record of human history, not a story of generals or politicians, preening and strutting before the masses. It is about the people who build the bridges, cut down the trees, plant the crops, sail the seas, who mine and manufacture, who have children and who suffer and survive and somehow manage to make life possible and even pleasant.
It is a story which contains wry humor, satire, and much wisdom. And there is a thread of wisdom which can shake a person to the roots. I couldn't put the book down. I absorbed everything in it. Or, perhaps more accurately, the book absorbed me. It is one of the great books of the twentieth century. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The impact of Discovery creeps up on you. It begins with sentiments that seem simple and even self-evident. But as you proceed, you find yourself simply understanding so much about the world we live in that you should have known, but didn't. That is the power of the novelist at work: Lane makes you see the truth, and comprehend it, too.--Roy A. Childs, Jr. in Laissez Faire Review -- Roy A. Childs, Jr. in Laissez Faire Review
[This is] a work that is so powerful it may well have launched the modern freedom movement. Originally published in 1943, Discovery had the impact of a lightening bolt, setting intellectual fires that burn brighter than ever among the modern intellectuals who are leading the growing assault on government control of our lives.
This is a book of timeless importance. It must be read by anyone who is seriously interested in the heritage of liberty--not just in America, but the world over. And reading it is a joy. Lane, who is said to have written the book 'at white heat,' was at once a brilliant thinker and a gifted storyteller.
This book is a withering attack on statism, nationalism, and what Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek calls the 'fatal conceit' of national economic planning. It is an intellectual tour de force that stood up to the collectivist paradigm of its time and pointed the way to rediscovering the principles of the American Revolution--a true revolution unlike those of the Old World that 'are revolutions only in the sense that a wheel's turning is a revolution.' Her exciting description of the revolutionary period (you can tell she wishes she'd been there to lend a hand to Paine, Mason, Jefferson and the gang) is the best of a brilliant book.
Rose Wilder Lane was a truly remarkable woman. Like Jefferson, she attacked life, living it to the fullest, as adventurer, journalist, world traveller, iconoclast, and just prior to her death, war corespondent in Vietnam. Not surprisingly, the clear-eyed determination and supercharged energy she brings to attacking the enemies of liberty in Discovery is unique among prominent proliberty writers. -- Ed Crane, president, Cato Institute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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And I really wonder how much Rothbard and Von Mises borrowed from Rose without acknowledging it; so much seems word for word from Rose. The quality of the work makes one wonder: where are the female libertarians today? The scholars and speakers and journalists? Libertarianism isn't for old white guys in America, but that is unfortunately what the Von Mises Institute has become...hopefully more will pick up this book and be inspired by her ideas, as they are for everyone.
The point I want to add is that the book suffers slightly from poor editing, but I believe I have an explanation for that.
Ms. Lane was a novelist, but also an essayist. She is sometimes listed as a "journalist" but most of her non-fiction work was "op-ed" rather than factual reporting. Reading the book I noticed that it came across as very coherent in segments, but overall it seemed somewhat disjointed with strange repetitions that come across as almost hypnotic.
Considering her background as a popular essayist or columnist, I realized that the book is not one, continuous narrative, but a collection of separate articles written by her over the years. Whoever compiled the assorted shorter works into one volume, Ms. Lane or an editor, they did not make this fact readily apparent, nor did they make sufficient effort to blend and link the sections into a more consistent narrative.
I have been avid to recommend the book to people, but the discontinuity made me hesitate because the book, as such, does seems slightly flawed. Having intuited the reason for the lack of "flow," I now whole-heartedly (but with this caveat) recommend the book to anyone with an interest in the ideology of individualism, liberty and human axiology.
Ms. Lane crafted an excellent premise that cannot be over-emphasized or repeated too often: Man succeeds when free. Using history, economics, philosophy, religion, psychology, and sociology, Ms. Lane coherently explains recorded human history and gives it a logical framework for understanding. The stories read like a novel, rather than a textbook. Her prose is succinct, precise and very effective. Her first chapter should be memorized and recited in grade schools throughout this land.
Buy a copy for your favorite student as a graduation present. Give one to your congressman, store clerk, or a total stranger on the bus. Leave it at the Starbuck's or the State License Bureau. This is the finest piece of non-fiction I have ever read. Do yourself a favor and read it at least once a year.