The Rise and Fall of Society
Frank Chodorov (1887–1966) late in life was a man too wise, too experienced to be surprised or professionally disoriented by the terrible fate of his career and his ideals. The war he had opposed had ended, and he was opposed to the new Cold War too. He had lost every intellectual battle he had ever taken on. But in all those years of writing and editing, he had sharpened his skill as a thinker and stylist.
By 1959, the year that The Rise & Fall of Society was written, he figured that no one was very much interested in listening to what he had to say. He was mostly correct about this. The book was dead on arrival. It came and went with no reviews, and no real public notice that I can detect from archives. Not too many years later, having earned the status of a legend but never having actually achieved it, Chodorov died.
What he had written, however, was something spectacular. It might be the greatest book you have never heard of. It is a full-scale manifesto of political economy, one that follows a systematic pattern of exposition, but never slows or sags from beginning to end. The book is not a difficult read in any sense. But there is so much wisdom in its pages that it cannot possibly be fully absorbed in one reading. It covers economic theory, ancient history, political theory, American history, social theory and political reality and has so many asides and pithy statements that you find yourself absolutely stopping as you read: I must reflect on this; I must remember this.
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