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Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse Hardcover

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“If Congress and the Administration really wanted to learn how to eliminate the deficit, limit government, and protect liberty they would stop wasting taxpayers’ money on ‘debt commissions’ and instead read Rollback.”
—The Honorable Ron Paul, Member of Congress

“In Rollback,, Tom Woods provides a provocative assessment of President Obama’s first two years of economic policy–making, challenging virtually every aspect of the administration’s narrative. While some readers may not be persuaded, all will find Woods’ analysis both interesting and worthy of serious debate.”
—Dr. Jeffrey Miron, Economist, Harvard University, and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute

“Tom Woods takes an honest (and methodically cited) look at the record of big government: skyrocketing health–care costs, an out-of-control military, moral hazard in the markets, and a collapsing dollar. Even better, he offers clever, turn–key solutions that could restore the United States to being the breeding ground of wealth and ingenuity that our immigrant ancestors sought and cherished. Rollback debunks the popular rhetoric of politicians, the media, and academia. Without a hint of partisanship—taking on Republicans and Democrats alike—Woods has shown how misguided policies have set us up to be the first generation in memory to pass along lower standards of health, wealth, and opportunity to our children. If you are confused about how our once-mighty country has fallen so far, so fast, then Rollback is a good place to find your answer.”
—Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital and host of The Peter Schiff Show

“In Rollback, economic historian Tom Woods proves that the true culprit for our financial woes is a government that thinks it can right any wrong, regulate any activity, and tax any event; and a public that continues to accept the assault on its natural liberties in the name of safety. Woods demonstrates with brutal clarity the critical and immediate need to reject the myth that the government can protect us and to repeal the institutions it has created to do so.”
—Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Senior Judicial Analyst, FOX News
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and the author or coauthor of nine books, including the New York Time bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.

Johnny Heller has earned multiple Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for Closing Time by Joe Queenan, and has earned two Audie Awards and many more nominations. Named one of the Top Fifty Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile, he has recorded over five hundred titles. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CDT7WM
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,382,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ryan Freed on February 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Woods Jr. has a knack for simplicity. His book, Meltdown, was one of the best at concisely explaining the causes and consequences of the 2007-08 financial crisis, and his more recent Nullification, explains the history behind and the legitimacy of the act of state nullification of federal laws.

In Rollback, Woods takes another clear and concise look at our complex modern times with one simple underlying theme: government is not the answer to our problems. This theme has resonated throughout the American conscience since the country's founding and has only grown more compelling in the late 20th century when the overwhelming cry has been for more government intervention and state regulation. Drawing from years of scholarship in the free-market, Austrian School of economics, Woods lays out the case that the kind of government intervention we have slowly inched toward is based in a "suicidal business model" and will inevitably come crashing down in a calamity far worse than the crisis of 2007-08.

The book is short and to-the-point. It focuses on theory and the "big picture," which is reasonable considering Woods' belief that the first step in solving the problems is simply revealing the flaws of the pro-government mentality and dispelling the myth of "good government."

In short, Woods makes an excellent case for rolling back the size of government. The only concern I would have is whether this book will speak to those who consider themselves liberal or centrist.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is about US history, both recent and early. It is not a single narrative, but an anthology of topics. The unifying theme is that all topics discussed in the book have been used as pro-government propaganda, but Woods interprets them all very differently from the view most have heard. The robber barons, the George Bush bubble, the military industrial complex all have a place here.

Some interesting things I learned from this book:

Certainly the most eye-opening thing for me was the analysis of the military-industrial complex and how it diverts American engineers from working on useful projects. Even a "small" military budget of 4% of GDP can have a huge effect on the price of engineers. The "mere" 4% figure actually hides an enormous cost to the economy because of the number of engineers drawn away from useful work. The argument that so much innovation in industry comes ultimately out of the military seems a lot less convincing when you realize that American industry might have twice the number of engineers available if it were not for the military in the first place!

Woods argues persuasively that repealing the Glass-Stegal act was such a minor change that it had nothing to do with the 2008 crash. I had previously accepted the argument that this change worsened the crash because it "deregulated" banks while still guaranteeing them under FDIC. However, the US was the only country ever to separate investment and commercial banking as Glass-Stegal did, so there is no particular reason to think that this change could be the cause of the housing bubble.

Although the book is clearly marketed towards conservatives, you certainly aren't going to become more conservative when you read it. Rather, you will become more radically anti government.
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Format: Hardcover
Rollback is an excellent, and timely, book. The strong points of this book are first, the main thesis of Rollback is on target: we have set ourselves on a course to national bankruptcy simply through defective thinking. Many people simply assume that private markets and enterprises are the source of most economic/financial problems, and that only the government can fix things. In reality, government caused problems dwarf private sector problems.

Second, Woods does a good job of conveying the idea that many of the costs of government are hidden. This is important to his thesis, as hidden costs are important to understanding why people are fooled into thinking that government is the answer to market failures.

Third, there are many good examples in this book. Personally, I have used the Swedish example for years. Wood's discussion of The Industrial Revolution and Global Poverty are important too. I think the most important examples are the recent one's: Fannie/Freddie, Fiscal stimulus... However, I would have liked to have seen even greater discussion of the Subprime Boom and Bust. There is new mythology emerging that free market Capitalism caused our recent debacle. Conventional thinking on this issue, especially in the media, is simply wrong and needs to be debunked.

Generally speaking, 240 pages is too little room to really flesh out all of these issues. This is a minor criticism, as greater length and sophistication would make Rollback less readable and less timely. You should buy and read Rollback, even if you are predisposed against its thesis.
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