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Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism Hardcover – September 4, 2007
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About the Author
Virtually everything in this book is new, a result of ten years of combing archives in five countries but of an unprecedented access to the voluminous Mises’s papers and to those of Mises’s colleagues, written by an author who himself is a master of the discipline and all the languages involved (German, English, and French). And though the book is huge (1,200 pages) it reads like a great novel, with a fast pace and high drama.
Top Customer Reviews
To write about this book one must consider readers as two kinds of people; those who have read Human Action and those who have not. For those who have read Mises' magnum opus, Last Knight will hold a special place in their libraries, probably on the shelf next to Human Action. To have read Human Action implies that a person is aware of and understands Austrian economics. Furthermore, the normal response to this effort (it must be admitted that it is not an easy read) is a paradigm shift in thought, if not life. Certainly all aspects of economics and politics are then understood in a fresh light; such that events of the day that were once an incomprehensible blur come into sharp focus, and the myths and lies of the ruling class become as obvious as Pinocchio's nose, or more aptly, the emperor's new clothes. For these people Last Knight quenches the thirst for knowledge about the man, his personality, life, and times. It is also a wonderful history of ideas, depicting the paths to (Menger and Böhm-Bawerk) and from (Hayek and Rothbard) Human Action. I have already seen that this can be a controversial exercise among those who claim to be Austrian economists but well worth the effort.Read more ›
In addition, I benefited from Hülsmann's discussion of the differences in marginal value theory between the competing schools and of his discussion of Mises's neglected masterpiece Theory and History. Throughout the book, such theoretically heavy topics are explained with remarkable lightness by professor Hülsmann.
But this book goes to the sources themselves, made possibly the author's broad language facility (French, German, English, Spanish, Latin), his background in the European tradition, and his access to libraries all over the Continent.
Thus does this book do more than tell about the life and work of Mises (and even though I thought I knew Mises, I didn't), it goes further to pretty well displace all other English-language books on the history of economics ideas as they pertain to the Austrian tradition.
What's more, it reads like a novel, so the otherwise scary fact of its size is not an issue. The prose is clean, the research completely fresh, and the subject matter as engaging as one might expect. Here we get a detailed account of the titanic struggles of the 20th century between socialism and capitalism, freedom and dictatorship, central planning and the free market, positivism and praxeology - it's all here.
In a time when economists are ever more specialized, this book comes as a reminder that there are big issues at stake, and that it requires courage and steadfastness to get in there and fight for what is right. Mises certainly did.
It is a phenomenal achievement for any scholar.
Beyond the specifics of Mises's theories, this is a great biography of a genius rejected in his own time, who persevered under crushing adversity and gave life to works that will endure for many lifetimes.
This biography is not a suitable introduction to Mises and his thoughts, although it presents a very good social history of Austria from before WWI to WWII. Better to start with Mises's own works: Liberalism, Theory Of Money & Credit, and Human Action. For anyone familiar with Mises, however, this book is a perfect gift and a must-have.
Liberty is a flickering concept in our world. It can survive as a concept and principle only if understood and defended by individuals. Ludwig von Mises was the greatest advocate for liberty, for he presents a value-neutral argument for the importance of maximum liberty in any society. When the majority of individuals knows who Mises is (if not understands him completely) and when this biography reaches a best-seller list, we can rest assured that individual liberty will be preserved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism is one of the top five books I have read in my life; and I have read many. I personally thank Dr. Read morePublished 6 days ago by J. Richard Duke
As an economist, I have to admit that the revolution in economic and social thinking that Von Mises has set into motion based on his remarquable theories that evolved during a... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon-Kunde
The best intellectual biography ever written. The story of Mises is a heroic and inspiring one. An intellectual giant who created the equivalent of a unified field theory for... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jan Bardium
A very good biography of a great classical liberal. If you are not a classical liberal, please read this book and learn about a great man. If you are a CL or lean that way... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Max Bville
One can be inspired to resist the seemingly unstoppable tide of government interventionism and coercion by developing an understanding of Misesian economics. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Hunter Hastings
Wonderful book I've been waiting ~50 years for. Thank you to Jorg Guido Huismann! Very well written. Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. Geiger
Nice book for all interested in development of liberal ideas during 20th century.Published on July 15, 2014 by Vyacheslav Voronchuk
Everybody who is interested in Great Mises's life, environment and historical background of formation of his ideas would enjoy the book. Read morePublished on March 24, 2014 by Pessakh Eugene Mayburd