Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm reading a book bigger than my head

My copy of the almost 800-page monster that is Brian Doherty’s new Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement arrived Wednesday. I’ve barely made a dent so far. Twice I’ve started reading from the front of the book, become distracted by one of the many, many endnotes, then found myself browsing. I figure no matter how I read the goddamn thing — forwards, backwards, or whatever — I’ll end up devouring it all eventually. In the meantime, I can report that I’m enjoying myself. Having lived, however, through 36 years of movement history myself — often actively, frequently on the sidelines — I’m naturally running into errors and missteps that are sometimes important, often not, but annoying anyway. But I’m quibbling. Brian Doherty has produced a much needed movement history, a monstrous task for which he should be heartily commended.

Longtime Left Libertarian comrade Jeff Riggenbach has written a cautionary review of the tome for Rational Review, itself a nifty personal history of this movement of ours. Check it out.


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