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November 07, 2010

Sunday Book Thread

It's pretty much a grab-bag of stuff today, mainly books I thought about while posting to other threads during the week.

First is Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. If you've ever wanted a brief introduction to basic economics, this is the book for you. It's only about 200 pages long, but is an excellent primer. Hazlitt's book is often associated with the so-called Austrian School of economics because Hazlitt was a fan of Ludwig von Mises, but it's really just a basic, classically-conservative statement of economics principles. It's appropriate for teens, too, so parents could do worse than to buy this book for their yard-apes to give them an idea of how economics works.

Amity Schlaes' The Forgotten Man is an absolute treasure to those wishing to debunk the hagiography that has grow up around FDR and the New Deal. Far from "fixing" the Great Depression, FDR's policies and actions during that time only made it worse and longer-lasting. One of the initiatives established during this time -- Social Security -- has turned into a fiscal catastrophe that I fulminate against on a regular basis.

Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath's Who Killed Homer? ought to be more widely read than it is. VDH and his co-author use the virtual extinction of Classical coursework in the academy to show how corrupted modern "higher ed" has become. They skewer the whole post-modernist, multi-culti sideshow, and since both men are (or were) professors, they speak with inside knowledge. This book was written more than a decade ago, and VDH often says that the situation is much worse now than it was when the book was written. (If you are interested in Greek military history but can't quite commit to Kagan's magisterial The Peloponnesian War, VDH's A War Like No Other is a good substitute.)

[UPDATE] Another thing I forgot to mention is the series of political pamphlets published by Encounter Books called "Encounter Broadsides". They're short (40 pages or so) essays on all manner of political topics, written from a rightish bent, by major conservative writers (VDH, Ambassador John Bolton, and others). I've read several of these on my Kindle, and their quality ranges from mediocre to excellent. I'm reading Stephen Moore's How Barack Obama is Bankrupting the US Economy right now. Think of these slim little books as a modern version of Paine's Common Sense, or The Federalist Papers.

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posted by Monty at 09:55 AM

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