Radicals for Capitalism, by Brian Doherty

An editor at Reason has written comprehensive overview of the American libertarian movement. It’s really, really good if you’re interested in this stuff. There are so many things that I learned. For example, for most of the century few of the people who advocated for limited government were for the most part isolated, unaware that there might be at all people like them. There’s nowhere near the level of infrastructure of today to be more familiar with these ideas.

Radicals for Capitalism is also really good at explaining the theories behind the major figures. It has actually a really good discussion of Hayek’s thoughts on capital. I didn’t expect that. You can learn a lot about libertarian ideas here, including those of Mises, Rothbard, and Nozick.

There’s a lot of stuff on libertarians and psychedelics in the ‘60s. Really fun to read.

The best part of the book is the characters. There are amazingly colorful and eccentric people. My favorite is Karl Hess, a man who after working on the Goldwater campaign got pursued by the IRS for withholding federal income taxes, and eventually ended up living off the grid in West Virginia using his welding skills to barter for goods. There are lots of other fun personalities.