Book Reviews

Welcome Back to Freedom

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The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld by Jamie Bartlett (Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing, 2015), 320 pages. Do you really want someone to die? If you could help bring about someone’s demise by anonymously and securely placing a bet on when that particular someone might take a dirtnap, would you? That’s the premise of the Assassination Market, an ... [click for more]

The Tyranny of Eminent Domain

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The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain by Ilya Somin (University of Chicago Press, 2015), 336 pages. The Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London has become infamous, singled out by defenders of liberty and property for special opprobrium. The Court’s opinion was a sobering reminder ... [click for more]

The Resurgence of Lochner

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Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform by David E. Bernstein (University of Chicago Press, 2012), 208 pages. David Bernstein begins his short book, Rehabilitating Lochner, by noting that “Lochner is likely the most disreputable case in modern constitutional discourse.” If you want to raise eyebrows in legal circles, he says, simply embark on ... [click for more]

Two Police State’s War on America

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Battlefield America: The War on the American People by John W. Whitehead (SelectBooks, 2015), 352 pages. John W. Whitehead is among the most dedicated and articulate civil libertarians of his generation. His latest book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is a cogent argument that today the clear and present danger to Americans and their freedom ... [click for more]

Book Review: An Enjoyable Guide to Economics

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Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You about Economics by John Tamny (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2015) 279 pages. It  is often pointed out that man’s improved circumstances on this Earth over the centuries has been the result of the accumulated knowledge that each generation takes from the preceding ones, to ... [click for more]

Your Data or Your Life

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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2015), 400 pages. Your data or your life. Distilled to its essence, this is the argument of surveillance hawks who want U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to retain their intrusive, unlawful, and unconstitutional surveillance ... [click for more]

Business Is No Business of the State

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Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy by Burton W. Folsom Jr. and Anita Folsom (Broadside Books, 2014), 239 pages. The day after the 2010 mid-term elections, the federal government quietly announced the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a “green energy” company that had been touted by Barack Obama as a ... [click for more]

The War That Justified Other Wars

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The Good War That Wasn’t — And Why It Matters: World War II’s Moral Legacy by Ted Grimsrud (Cascade Books, 2014), 286 pages. Even among some libertarians, World War II is viewed as the great exception. Although it was the most destructive thing to life, liberty, and property that the world has ever seen, World War II is ... [click for more]

Innovation, Patents, and the Industrial Revolution

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The Most Powerful Idea in the World: The Story of Steam, Industry and Invention by William Rosen (University of Chicago Press 2012), 376 pages. This is the story of an important microcosm of the Industrial Revolution: the development of the railroad. Although the story is one of personalities — and the book is engaging and a good read ... [click for more]

Militarism: Our Civic Religion

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Militarism, U.S.A by Col. James Donovan; Foreword by Gen. David Shoup (Scribner’s 1970), 265 pages Today the United States is engaged in seemingly winless wars without end in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been engaging in interventions in places such as Libya, which seem to result in nothing but chaos. Libya has descended into civil war and the rise ... [click for more]

Empire, Security, and the War State

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The War State: The Cold War Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex and the Power Elite, 1945–1963 by Michael Swanson (CreateSpace 2013), 430 pages. In the October 1958 issue of The New Yorker, near the high-water mark of McCarthyism, the novelist and literary critic Mary McCarthy famously wrote, “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” ... [click for more]

Government versus Progress

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Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good by Tom W. Bell (Mercatus Center 2014), 238 pages. Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom by Adam Thierer (Mercatus Center 2014), 1089 pages. These books cover two different aspects of the same phenomenon — how laws and regulations obstruct progress. Tom Bell’s Intellectual Privilege examines copyright law, which ... [click for more]
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