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Why didn't "Rise and Fall" have legs?


Tags Media and CultureAustrian Economics Overview

When I first read Chodorov's Rise and Fall of Society, excerpted today as the Daily Article, I was just blown away at the clarity of argument and the precision of the analytics concerning government, society, and economy. How much could be achieved if a student read this one book sometime in the first years of college? It would immunize him or her to nearly all the nonsense you get in sociology and political science and history — not only immunize but clarify and reveal, for once you begin thinking in Chodorovian terms, so much confusion is wiped away and so much more about the world makes sense.

But there is another mystery that struck me about this book. How could something so good but so unknown? I had never heard of it and I couldn't find anyone who had. Had Robert Lefevre's library not had a copy, no one here would have even known about it.

So this morning I was rereading Murray's tribute to Chodorov, and here we find the key. Rothbard says this book is brilliant but written in 1959 when Frank was 72 years old and had really lost all his publishing outlets. The old right had already been overthrown by the new right. National Review was founded in 1955. Frank was an embarrassment to these people who cared mainly about fighting the Cold War and using the state for their own interests. So there wasn't anyone around to promote this book or even review it. It might have been the last great book by a pillar of the old right intellectual scene. Who pay attention to anything that National Review wasn't publishing?

Jeffrey Tucker is Editorial Director of the American Institute for Economic Research. He is author of It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes and Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo. Send him mail.

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