Friday, March 06, 2009

Chodorov: a classic for the current times

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at

Chodorov: a classic for the current times

Jim Fedako

Almost a month ago, Jeffrey Tucker challenged folks to live-blog books offered by the Mises Institute Online Store. His challenge intrigued me. You see, I really love reading my way through the store catalogue, finding gems at every turn. And I love the idea of getting into the material as much as possible. So, I figured the added stress of live-blogging would force me to concentrate and really take in the subject matter of some truly excellent books.

I accepted the challenge and sent Jeffrey a list of books I wanted to live-blog. My list contained both books that I wanted to reread and those I had not yet read - with the exception of one book, books already sitting beside my desk, in my reading on-deck pile.

I had a plan. I would finish one other book sitting around unread - a quick read I assumed, then I would begin my live-blogging. Easy enough. Or so I thought.

Some books are a challenge to read. I think of Human Action, a treatise that takes time and effort to comprehend. Some days I could make it through just a couple of pages, while other days I could "breeze" through a dozen or so. Nevertheless, the time and effort I devoted to the book turned out to be more valuable ex post than I assumed ex ante - a psychic profit indeed.

Other books are much less challenging, with writing that is fast and free. These books are true pleasures that also leave a lasting mark. Many such books come to mind. I think of The Kohler Strike as but one example.

Then there are books that appear simple at first glance. Books that are wonderfully written and full of deep and interesting insight. When I begin one of these books, I end up shocked. A book I would expect to take but days to read ends up taking weeks as I think and rethink the author's views. Not a word can be glossed over, not an idea left unconsidered.

Frank Chodorov's The Rise and Fall of Society is one such book. Even though this book is now 50 years old, it is as important today as when it was written. The book caught me. Each chapter sends my thoughts sailing, and I spend more time musing than reading. Ironically, it is Chodorov's clarity of ideas that turns a 168-page book into a month-long read.

I have revisited my plan. My first live-blog will be The Rise and Fall of Society. Though I am almost finished, I am excited to go back to page one and once again journey with Chodorov. I hope you will enjoy the journey as well. And, in the end, I hope to inspire you to immerse yourself in this classic of freedom.

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