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A 1940s classic at Number One

Via National Review’s The Corner blog, I see that FA Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom is top of the Amazon charts. Wow.

Funny how these supposed golden oldies keep racking up the best-seller scores, isn’t it?

Mind you, I guess the same phenomenon applies to entertainers. Like it or not, Sinatra and Elvis keep selling.

20 comments to A 1940s classic at Number One

  • 9th – not a golden oldie.

  • Damn, years since I read that. In mitigation though, I am listening to Rothbard(Link) as I go about my business at home.

  • Does this perhaps reflect the unwillingness of bookshops to stock such books during the last few decades? Does this, that is to say, reflect a change in supply?

    Or is this surge so recent that it can only be explained by a recent surge in demand?

  • Petronius

    Of course, if you Google Hayek Freddy gets second billing to Mexican spitfire Selma Hayek.

  • Kevin B

    This came up on one of those long threads at Protein Wisdom or Just One Minute. Turns out that one of the RWDBs mentioned it on his show and zoom, straight to number one.

    It couldn’t have been Rush since he was off getting married, (with Elton John doing the entertainment), so it was probably Glenn Beck.

  • Brian,

    Hayek is readily available in London bookshops, it’s just that no one has been pushing him. If Glen Beck is doing an Oprah on him, then more power to his elbow.

    While Beck is teaching history and pushing the great books of freedom I will love him. It will be a different matter if he ever gives away cars.

  • newrouter

    the glenn beck book club is dominating amazon

  • Bod

    Yep, but Amazon still seems to have dead tree copies, and of course, there’s Kindle if you’re into that kind of thing.

    Glenn Beck is utterly unwatchable for me – lukewarm libertarianism (that I can’t help but be skeptical of) mixed with a good sized dollop of TV Evangelism – but good luck to him, and due props for helping spread the message.

  • xenophon

    Mike above posted the clip. Glen Beck mentions RTS on his show and it sold 13,000 copies in 24 hrs. The U of Chicago press sold out of copies!

  • I sure did Cats – thanks for that one:-)

  • I think this is a tribute to the fundamental reasonableness of much of the American public. To see The Road To Serfdom topping any British-based sales chart in utterly inconceivable to me.

    The Enemy Class world view is far too entrenched.

  • cjf

    The reason is that more Americans are thinking alike.
    The “members” of the Left and Right are now saying what the other side has said before.

    “Unintended Consequences” (John Ross), “The Coming Insurection” (allegedly by French communaifs) have had
    I recently finished “The Secret Agent” (Joseph Conrad)
    Some observations are still good, since 1903.
    A science fiction author, Steven Gould, has made it a theme. F.Paul Wilson is probably well-known to readers here. “La Nague Chronicles” (Enemy of the State, etcetera). As so many other authors

  • cjf

    If John Galt has as much sympathy as Winston Smith,
    Americans have found other expressions. Usually, great
    authors’ lives are as interesting as their works.


    Taxachusetts. Lawyer. Military. One title is “A State of Disobedience”

    More to it than Atlas Shrugged

  • Bod

    Well, inspired to start reading serious stuff again, I had need to order in from Amazon UK, parts I and II of Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies” – which I haven’t been exposed to before.

    When you look at our kind of books on Amazon.com, it’s quite heartening to see how high up the rankings some of them are, especially when compared to the works of the (primarily left-) statists.

    Then you add in the successes of people like Mark Levin who are pretty reliable in their support of the US Bill of Rights but who are quite happy to bang away at some of the Amendments, and here, in the US, it seems like the future may be rosy, even if we are all living on beans on toast.

  • Some day very soon I will read the adult version. Until then, there’s this:


    Brought to you by Government Motors.

  • Laird

    Thanks for the link, Mose. I’d seen that before but it’s good to be reminded of it.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course General Motors (not Government Motors) would not publish something like this today.

    As for Brian’s question.

    American book stores have long had a more mixed (ideologically speaking) content than British book stores.

    However, everyone (who is honest) will admit the real reason that the Road to Serfdom became top of the book sales as Amazon.

    The same reason that so many other pro freedom books (in history, politics, economics and philosophy) have sold so many copies in the United States in recent years.


    The left is correct to hate this man – his efforts have done them more harm than anyone else in my lifetime. And intellectual conservatives and libertarians are wrong to sneer at him.

    He does more good than any of us do.

  • Paul Marks

    Would the British buy the Road to Serfdom?

    Many did – and many still would.

    Why do they not?

    Because no television or radio station has anything like the “unwatchable” Glenn Beck show – no one who people hear and see suggesting they buy such a book.

    It is that simple – and we do not have such shows, not because people would not watch or listen, but because regualtions FORBID such openly political shows.

    Frank Lloyd (one of Obama’s people at the FCC) understood all this long ago – which is why he wished to move against Fox News and Talk Radio.

    However, Obama messed it up – there were boycott campaigns (organized by people in regular day-to-day contact with Obama) and efforts to discredit and freeze out dissenting political media.

    But no direct bans or tax and regulation de fact bans – not for moral reasons, but because (for the present) Barack Obama could not find the courage for a direct stand up fight (Chevez style).

    In British slang terms – he bottled it.