The outstanding merit of Brian Doherty’s book is that it contains a treasure trove of valuable information regarding the events, personalities, periodicals and organizations whose complex interplay influenced the intellectual and institutional development of the modern American libertarian movement. But its merit also becomes its defect in the hands of the author, who appears at times to be completely overwhelmed by the wealth of information he has collected, unable or unwilling to critically evaluate the facts and events he recounts and assimilate them into a coherent narrative.
Doherty’s abdication of this essential role of the historian at critical points is bad enough, but to make matters worse he enlists interested participants in the movement not only for their recollections and descriptions but for the interpretive analysis that he is so derelict in supplying. Thus, he takes at face value and naively repeats without critical discussion the most absurd and self-serving pronouncements by commentators aligned with one faction or another. FULL ARTICLE