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Home / Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

The Invisible Order of the Black Family: Some Observations on Carol Stack’s All Our Kin

Part I: The Household, The Family, and the State Carol Stack’s All Our Kin is a classic ethnography from the early 1970s. The context for the book was the Moynihan Report on the state of the Black family produced by the U.S. government in 1965. The report’s conclusion was that the Black family was dysfunctional and in disarray. Stack and others explored the validity of that conclusion and examined the question of whether the official data used in the report had...

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Baseball, Black History, and Bottom-Up Integration

In early 1964, in the immediate aftermath of Jackie Robinson’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame and John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Robinson put together a rather triumphalist book with dozens of friends and colleagues from across the world of baseball entitled Baseball Has Done It. In a series of interviews, Robinson occasionally interjects his thoughts on the years before, during and immediately after his entry into Major League Baseball in 1947. The...

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David Hume on Ancient Revolutions

The longest essay in the modern edition of David Hume’s Essays  is “Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations,” first published in 1752. The essay aims to discomfort those who lionize the ancients of Greece and Rome, by arguing, in effect, that neither had succeeded in establishing a political order that truly achieved what we today would call the rule of law. That is a mark of “every wise, just, and mild government” (382). The moderns have succeeded better, somehow....

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Daniel Layman and the forgotten Lockeans

For the Independent Review, I’ve reviewed Locke Among the Radicals by Daniel Layman. It is a splendid book, which rediscovers “a coterie of nineteenth-century radical Lockeans with a penchant for anarchy and anti-capitalism”: Thomas Hodgskin (1797–1869), Lysander Spooner (1808–1887), John Bray (1809–1897) and Henry George (1839–1897). This is an unlikely lot, as these thinkers do not particularly resemble each other and are hardly considered in conjunction. But...

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Five Books for Shakespeare Lovers, or Those Who Want to Be: Doorways In

If you’re enjoying this week’s EconTalk episode with Scott Newstok, you might be ready to jump in and read more about Shakespeare. There is an almost unlimited supply of books on Shakespeare. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the onslaught of critical literature, popular treatments, retellings, revisionings, and performances. It’s glorious. It also makes creating a list of five recommended books about Shakespeare an almost impossible task. Do we recommend the...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club, Part 2

The TPOC Book Club continues its march through Chapter 1, “Ignorance Is Strength.” Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll do an omnibus reply later this week. After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties, society regrouped itself, as always, into High, Middle, and Low. But the new High group, unlike all its forerunners, did not act upon instinct but knew what was needed to safeguard its position. It had long been realized that...

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John Kay on Mariana Mazzucato’s Capitalism

In the Financial Times John Kay reviews the new book by Mariana Mazzucato. The book is called Mission Economy. A Moonshot Guide to Change Capitalism. Mazzucato, like she did before, argues for governments “creating market” and “steering” capitalism in one direction or another. Ambitious goals should fuel mission-oriented capitalism, with government at the helm. Kay has many excellent points but I particularly commend these: But Apollo was a success because the...

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William Allen RIP

Last week, Don Boudreaux over at CafeHayek did a nice appreciation of William R. Allen, co-author, with Armen Alchian, of the excellent University Economics textbook. Allen died last week, only a few months before his 97th birthday. Fortunately, Liberty Fund has published Universal Economics, edited by Jerry Jordan, an update of University Economics. I knew Bill Allen slightly while I was a graduate student at UCLA (from 1972 to 1975), and my not getting to know...

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“Shakespeare in Love” and the Humanity of Business.

I’m reading Tom Stoppard’s biography by Hermione Lee. I never thought I could read 900 pages on a subject previously  unimportant to me with such delight. It is a marvelous book. Stoppard’s life is interesting and eventful, it provides a good glimpse into the world of culture and entertainment in the last quarter of the 20th century. Plus, Lee’s analyses of Stoppard’s plays are masterful. One thing that comes out of Lee’s biography of Stoppard is how...

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Praise and Blame: Meritocracy and Utilitarianism

David Levey directed me to an excellent essay by Agnes Callard, which reviews several books that are critical of meritocracy. While I share many of her criticisms, I’m not persuaded by her recommendations: The question of who we praise and who we blame is not a scientific question, but an ethical one; there is no way to answer it except by deliberating seriously about the kind of society we want to live in. In that spirit, I want to propose a new candidate for what...

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