The cover is from a Greek portrayal of the reality of war -- a fitting portrayal too of life under socialism, in which brute force is the only way to secure control over resources essential to life.
This edition is the original as published by Yale University, the edition that introduce to American audiences the first thorough and scientific demolition of what was and is one of the great delusions in the history of the world.
This masterwork is much more than a refutation of the economics of socialism (although on that front, nothing else compares). It is also a critique of the implicit religious doctrines behind Western socialist thinking, a cultural critique of socialist teaching on sex and marriage, an examination of the implications of radical human inequality, an attack on war, socialism, and refutation of collectivist methodology.
In short, Mises set out to refute socialism, and instead yanked out the collectivist mentality from its very roots. For that reason, Socialism led dozens of famous intellectuals, including a young F.A. Hayek, into a crisis of faith and a realist/libertarian political orientation. All the collectivist literature combined cannot equal the intellectual achievement of this one volume.
Ludwig von Mises was the acknowledged leader of the Austrian School of economic thought, a prodigious originator in economic theory, and a prolific author. Mises's writings and lectures encompassed economic theory, history, epistemology, government, and political philosophy. His contributions to economic theory include important clarifications on the quantity theory of money, the theory of the trade cycle, the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general, and a demonstration that socialism must fail because it cannot solve the problem of economic calculation. Mises was the first scholar to recognize that economics is part of a larger science in human action, a science that Mises called "praxeology."