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Publisher's Summary

The media tells us that "deregulation" and "unfettered free markets" have wrecked our economy and will continue to make things worse without a heavy dose of federal regulation. But the real blame lies elsewhere.

In Meltdown, best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., unearths the real causes behind the collapse of housing values and the stock market---and it turns out the culprits reside more in Washington than on Wall Street. And the trillions of dollars in federal bailouts? Our politicians' ham-handed attempts to fix the problems they themselves created will only make things much worse.

Woods, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and winner of the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Award, busts the media myths and government spin. He explains how government intervention in the economy---from the Democratic hobby horse called Fannie Mae to affirmative action programs like the Community Redevelopment Act---actually caused the housing bubble. Most important, Woods, author of the New York Times best seller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, traces this most recent boom-and-bust---and all such booms and busts of the past century---back to one of the most revered government institutions of all: the Federal Reserve System, which allows busybody bureaucrats and ambitious politicians to pull the strings of our financial sector and manipulate the value of the very money we use.

Meltdown, which features a foreword by Congressman Ron Paul (R - Texas), also provides a timely history lesson to counter the current clamor for a new New Deal. The Great Depression, Woods demonstrates, was only as deep and as long as it was because of the government interventions by Herbert Hoover (no free-market capitalist, despite what your high-school history teacher may have taught you) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (no savior of the American economy, in spite of what the mainstream media says). If you want to understand what caused the fi...

©2009 Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Provocative, well-written, and deserves to be read." ( Catholic Historical Review)"Well written, well researched, and the thesis put forth is well argued." ( Journal of American History)

What members say

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  • Overall

Read this book!

Forget about 'derivatives' and the other esoteric culprits for the economic collapse of 2008-2009. The real reason is much simpler than that and Woods skillfully explains why. Woods is an historian who delivers a compelling narrative that hearing, you just know he would have been one of your favorite teachers if you had been in his class.
I was so impressed by it that I have bought and given out many copies of this book. Read it. Highest reviews.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Raymond
  • Zephyrhills, FL, United States
  • 06-28-09

A layman's opinion

I liked how this book revealed the feds involvement. I thought it was going to be more inflammatory regarding the party politics; putting responsibility on one and ignoring the others. Thankfully it was not.

Do not buy this to hear how the republicans got us in this mess and the democrats are the ones to save us. It will take a new way of thinking from everyone involved to get out of this and as partisan as politics are today I am not sure the ppl currently serving us are up for the job.

As far as the tone of the narrator goes: I would not have been able to make it through the text version of an economics book but I really liked how the narrator handled himself. After the book I went to and listened to the author himself, I believe the sarcasm was intended. Just a normal reading of the book would have not been able to get the same message across.

now i hope we can get "The United States Constitution" in an audio book

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great primer

Having zero background in economics, I found that the author explained very well how we got into this mess. The description of the Austrian Business Cycle theory was concise and easy to understand. Woods gives a road map for how to avoid boom-and-bust cycles and a great defense of (truly)free-enterprise. It's a shame the people in power don't understand sound economic principles.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peter
  • elk grove village, IL, USA
  • 03-18-09

Meltdown makes Lava Economics Easy to Understand

Meltdown is a book that every red blooded American that works hard or not needs to listen to or read this book NOW. It's forwarded by the Congressman from TX, (D) Ron Paul, who endorses the book with vigor. This book goes through step by step why the bailout will only prolong the recession and even worse- depression! But seriously if you want to know what you are not hearing in the mainstream news media, print or even radio read this book which articulates complex subjects into easy to understand English.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Timothy
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 12-02-09

a little dry but very worth the credit

this is great information; the conflicting news and meaningless predictions by "economists" are now exposed. its like someone turned the light on

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Cordova, MD, USA
  • 03-23-09


This book summarizes the works of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and F.A. Hayek in one succinct text. I am not an economist, but wanted more information about what the heck was going on at the end of last year. I read "Atlas Shrugged", then "Capitalism: an unknown ideal" by Ayn Rand. That took me to Mises' "Human Action" and then Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom". A must-read book by Henry Hazlitt was thrown in there called "Economics in One Lesson". Woods is brilliant...if you don't have the time or the will to read the above, you NEED to at least read this book. Thank God for the Austrian School of Economics!

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Garland, TX, United States
  • 04-22-09

Biting and brilliant

The author demolishes the standard Keynesian and monetarist models and delivers a straightforward and insightful Austrian approach to today's economic times.

His indictment of the Fed alone is worth the price of the book. The title for this chapter is telling: "The Elephant in the Living Room."

Even more importantly, chapter 4 "How Government Causes the Boom-Bust Cycle," is the best layman's explanation of Austrian Business Cycle Theory I have found. Presented clearly and cogently, even Paul Krugman could understand it were he so inclined.

Solid theory backing solid solutions, an A+ for content.

About production, Alan Sklar's narration is wonderful. Best I've heard, full stop.

He actually seems to have read the book beforehand and gotten a sense of the author's tone and style prior to recording.* Rather than the boring monotone of so many other readers, he invests the text with life and offers a vibrant rendition of the text.

Thank you Messrs. Woods and Sklar for offering the top combination of content and production I have yet to come across.


* Yes, as some other reviewers have mentioned, Woods has a bit of sarcasm in his writing. When one deals with ideas which should have been put out of our misery many years ago but somehow keep showing up like zombies in a drive-in theater, a bit of leeway might be allowed for the positive unbelief that these ideas still hold sway in so many "educated" circles. =/

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 03-04-09

...A Must Read!

This is a wake up call Americans! Our gov't is either inept or criminal,.. or both. Tom Woods lays it all out so anyone can understand. I listened to the whole thing without stopping. It will captivate and anger you.

Listen and then call or e-mail your elected officials!

34 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Content OK, narration gets frustrating

I understand why many feel antagonized by the narration style. I am trying to listen to the book a 2nd time. I might agree with what's being said but the narration style does over-play the points. I believe the polarized reviews ("less than one star" ) are a reflection of being rubbed off the wrong way by it far more than the content.

The content is most definitely "one-sided", the author is explicit about his narrative, he advocates the Austrian school view of macro-economics and I wish I could find an opposing view stated so eloquently and convincingly. I write this as we hear how the stimulus is not quite working yet and ponder through its effects down the road. I've read some of Krugman's NYTimes pieces and they don't come close to being as convincing. I guess I'll keep looking.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good things to think about but a little political

This is probably a good primer on Austrian School Economics is you are not familiar with it. It falls into the trap, like most books with political messages, of being a bit sarcastic and dismissive towards the arguments of the other side. I try to read each viewpoint and for the opposing one I would recommend "The Great Crash of 1929" by Galbraith, which also tends toward sarcasm.

I believe the best point of this book is to give us a lot of questions to think about before we spend the equivalent of a warehouse full of 100-dollar bills that we do not have. While it may be too late for this bailout/stimulus we better think long and hard about the questions raised in this book before we do it again. This is a good introduction to the school of economics dismissed as "supply side" by the popular press but it falls short as an in-depth look at the very serious issues we face. If you want to know more a good next step is Sowell's "Applied Economics".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Frank
  • 04-05-10

My first Audible book

This was my first Audible book I purchased.
Since then I have purchased and listened to 15 books.
This still remains my favourite and I have listened to it 3 times.
Gives you an insight of the Federal Reserve.My first introduction to Austrian Economics.
A must book to read to get an understanding of the world economic crisis.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful