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Jeff Riggenbach does a very nice reading of this encyclopedic history of libertarian thought and the struggle for liberty written by Jim Powell. If you are a libertarian, you will likely enjoy this book, as I did, though the brevity of some of the biographical sketches might leave you wishing for more. Powell also follows the biographical convention of adding details about each subject's family life and upbringing - which is, in my opinion, a convention this book could have done without. The passages focusing on these issues stick out like sore thumbs, especially when they are in no clear way connected to the behavior of the subject. Also, the book is written from an obviously partisan perspective on libertarianism, and though it is clear that the author wanted to present solely positive contributions, his ideological decision to gloss over Ronald Reagan's enormous credibility and ethics problems while leaving out important contributions to liberty from the other side of the political fence (i.e. Harry Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Malcolm X, John Brown) because their methods did not fit within the particular agenda espoused by this author are a little problematic. Still, the book is a very good introduction to libertarian social thought, and should be read by anybody who believes they know what being an American patriot really means.
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While I expected to hear about Thomas Jefferson, Ronal Reagan, Martin Lugher King Jr., and James Madison, the depth and breadth of this book was truly enlightening. It should be required reading for anyone with an interest in liberty. Each story is entertaining, informative and inspirational. There are so many influential people who were involved in the pursuit of liberty through the years and the author makes the connections to show how they knew and influenced each other. For anyone interested in understanding what Liberty truly means, this book could be the Cliffs Notes.
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