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Publisher's Summary

Here is a magisterial book for today and the ages, one that inspires awe for both the subject and the author who accomplished the seemingly impossible: a sweeping intellectual biography, constructed from original sources, of the 20th century's most astonishing dissident intellectual. It has the apparatus of a great scholarly work but the drama of a classic novel.

Ludwig von Mises' colleagues in Europe called him the "last knight of liberalism" because he was the champion of an ideal of liberty they considered dead and gone in an age of central planning and socialism of all varieties. During his lifetime, they were largely correct. And thus the subtitle of this book. But Mises was not deterred in any respect: not in his scientific work, not in his writing or publishing, and not in his relentless fight against every form of statism.

Born in 1881, he taught in Europe and the Americas during his century, and died in 1978 before the dawn of a new epoch that would validate his life and ideals in the minds of millions of people around the world. The last knight of liberalism triumphed. Jörg Guido Hülsmann, professor of economics at the Université d'Angers, tells the full story of his dramatic and inspiring life and contributions - and in the course of it, provides a reconstruction of the history of the Austrian School of economics of which Mises was the leading expositor, including the entire history of economic thought on the European continent and in the United States during the 20th century.Virtually everything in this book is new, a result of ten years of combing archives in five countries and unprecedented access to the voluminous papers of Mises and those of his colleagues - and written by an author who is a master of the discipline and all the languages involved (German, English, and French). Though the book is huge (1,200 pages), it reads like a great novel, with a fast pace and high drama, which Paul Strikwerda brings alive with his narration.

©2007 Ludwig von Mises Institute (P)2007 Ludwig von Mises Institute

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Glad this exists

I was amazed to find a 31-hour biography of someone so relatively obscure. While the book does not really explore Mises' flaws, and the author is obviously a fan, that is to be expected in a book sponsored by the Mises Institute. Hülsmann is not on a level with the great biographers, but it is still very well done.

The narration is clear through about 1.8x, my only complaint being I am not a fan of accents in quotes during non-fiction books.

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A great view of a man and an époque

This is economic history. It gave me a greater understanding of his time and how he got to develop his views. It was even exciting, at times, and the book gave me a better understanding of recent history.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterly, scholarly, a great summation.

A great summation of the immeasurable contributions of Mises to free-market economics and individual freedom. Threaded throughout with the intellectual development of his ideas, placed within its historical context and the opposing views he combated. An invaluable contribution, very well researched and edited.

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An amazing research woven into an enjoyable bio!

What did you love best about Mises?

I loved learning more about the man and how he became the intellectual genius we know now

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I am still amazed that Mises moved to the US with almost nothing and chose to start over and thrive instead of bemoaning his fate

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Ludwig von Mises bio with his ideas

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The completeness of the biography with the completeness of the account of his ideas in this lengthy book.

What about Paul Strikwerda’s performance did you like?

very good performance

If you could give Mises a new subtitle, what would it be?

After 95 years his original warning that socialist economy is impossible and productive of only chaos gathers only more proof.

Any additional comments?

Know your Mises and you'll reject your bastard religion of state-worship.

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  • David
  • HOUSTON, TX, United States
  • 03-10-14

Underrated genius!

Would you listen to Mises again? Why?

Of course, and I will because there is so much to absorb when it comes to Mises' and the man that he was that his story is like a tuning fork for resolve and commitment to truth.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I had no idea how close we were to losing the school of thought represented by Austrian Economics until this book. Had we lost this school of thought, that may not have been the equivalent of losing the Library of Alexandria, but it would be on par with losing a section of the library. And what self respecting person in pursuit of knowledge would not fight to save such a body of works, let alone an entire school of thought? That's what Mises did for us all.

What about Paul Strikwerda’s performance did you like?

I thought the delivery was elegant and flawless.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book has inspired me not only to make a stronger commitment to learning, but more importantly to not be so afraid to speak up and voice a contrarian position to mainstream views.

Any additional comments?

The only thing that threw me off when listening to the book were the parts in German -- which doesn't really happen that often in the book. And, needless to say, you'd get the English translation right after. However, at the time, I was confused as to why that would be in the audio book. But, looking back now, the book essentially archives these letters or quotes, which is good given that certain nuances can get lost in translation. Had I been fluent in German, I'd be more appreciative of the contrast. But, nonetheless, it still took me by surprise.

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  • Peter
  • Farmington, UT, United States
  • 08-15-13

Much more content than I expected

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It comprehensively describes the history and teachings of the Austrian School of Economics as well as how that school related to other schools of economics at the time.

What other book might you compare Mises to and why?

Human Action by Ludwig himself.

What does Paul Strikwerda bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Constantly interesting inflection which keeps even the more tedious sections interesting.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Demetris
  • 01-27-12

A must

Even though the book contains too much details (names, titles of books, dates etc) I gave it 5 stars because it is a must for all economists. Even though it has a lot of jargon its basic principles can easily be understood by persons with basic economic background. It is not just economics, it is philosophy, economics and governance based on principles. It criticizes socialism and governed interventionism with arguments.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful