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This book is a great companion to Jane Mayer's Dark Money. It looks at the Libertarian movement, its roots and contributions on economist James Buchanan and Charles Koch. Well researched, using Buchanan's personal documents. The performance is excellent, easy to listen to.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
People who want to believe that behind all of the world's problems there is always a secret group of evil men pulling strings of a master strategy, will love this book. MacLean's story is indeed entertaining, but it is not the serious historical work I was expecting. Rather, it is what Michael Munger called 'speculative historical fiction'. She clearly cherry picks bits and pieces and tries to knit together an outrageous story with easy-to-despise villains. The worst is that, in order to construct these nefarious movie characters, MacLean horribly manipulates their quotes, twisting the original meanings entirely. This is an intellectually dishonest tactic, as well as an insult to the readers and obviously to those that she misrepresent and demonize.
What bothered me the most is that MacLean usually does not grapple with the complicated philosophical challenges that cross through this story. Specially the perennial issue of balancing the will of majorities vs the rights of minorities in a democracy. Rather, she chooses to skip over any argument, and simply appeal to the currently widespread contempt for the rich, triggering an intuitive (lazy) judgement by the readers.
After listening to the book I read a review by Mike Munger, which not only delves into these points much more eloquently, but also provides a useful account of Public Choice theory. I would recommend it for anyone interested in this topic: www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=9115
6 of 8 people found this review helpful