Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movementby Brian Doherty
On Wall Street, in the culture of high tech, in American government: Libertarianismthe simple but radical idea that the only purpose of government is to protect its citizens and their property against direct violence and threat has become an extremely influential strain of thought. But while many books talk about libertarian ideas, none until now
On Wall Street, in the culture of high tech, in American government: Libertarianismthe simple but radical idea that the only purpose of government is to protect its citizens and their property against direct violence and threat has become an extremely influential strain of thought. But while many books talk about libertarian ideas, none until now has explored the history of this uniquely American movementwhere and who it came from, how it evolved, and what impact it has had on our country.
In this revelatory book, based on original research and interviews with more than 100 key sources, Brian Doherty traces the evolution of the movement through the unconventional life stories of its most influential leaders Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Milton Friedmanand through the personal battles, character flaws, love affairs, and historical events that altered its course. And by doing so, he provides a fascinating new perspective on American historyfrom the New Deal through the culture wars of the 1960s to today's most divisive political issues. Neither an exposé nor a political polemic, this entertaining historical narrative will enlighten anyone interested in American politics.
"Freewheeling" suggests a more whimsical book than readers actually get with this serious, comprehensive history of libertarianism, a political philosophy of minimal government intrusion into private lives. With their opposition to government, regulations, and taxes, libertarians may sound like modern conservatives, but they are a different breed: conservatives often hope to legislate morality, an intervention that libertarians despise. Libertarian journalist Doherty (senior editor, Reason) is an advocate whose passion should have been tempered by a cold-hearted editor willing to blue-pencil endless details about magazine circulations and which hotel hosted which meetings. Such minutiae, which contribute to the book's great length, will try the unobsessed reader. The familiar namesâ€”Milton Friedman, F.A. von Hayek, Ayn Randâ€”are here, along with the less well known, such as Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter Rose. Libertarians as an organized party have barely made a dent in U.S. elections, but their ideas have strongly influenced successful politicians. Thus, this scholarly and far-reaching account is necessary for collections of modern American history and politics.
Michael O. Eshleman
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Meet the Author
Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine. His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and books, including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, and The Weekly Standard. He is also the author of This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground. He lives in Los Angeles.
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