Category Archives: Book Review

Roman Mocpajchel Reviews Richard Blake


Historická detektívka zo 7. storočia (knižná recenzia)

Hneď na začiatku sa priznám, že pre historické detektívky mám slabosť. Hlavne preto, že v sebe spájajú dramatické napätie z vyšetrovania zločinu − vo väčšine prípadov nejakej vraždy – s viac-menej reálnym historickým pozadím, nezriedka aj so skutočnými historickými postavami. Popri vzrušení z odhaľovania zločinov a zločincov tak historické detektívky ponúkajú svojmu čitateľovi aj atraktívny exkurz do rôznych historických epoch, ktorý môže byť poučnejší a približuje konkrétne dejinné obdobie viac než matné spomienky zo školských hodín dejepisu. Continue reading

Markets Not Capitalism: A Review


by Cory Massimino
http://c4ss.org/content/29932

Markets Not Capitalism: A Review

Markets not Capitalism is a wonderfully compiled set of readings spanning 150 years of the market anarchist tradition. We must first commend Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson on their work in bringing all this great literature together and bundling it in a fantastic book for those interested in what market anarchism truly has to offer, as stated by its most ardent supporters of both past and present.

It’s hard to believe the number of genius thinkers who have writings in Markets not Capitalism: Benjamin Tucker, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Voltarine de Cleyre, Karl Hess, Roy Childs, William Gillis, Kevin Carson, Roderick Long, and Sheldon Richman to name a few. The compilation truly blends together the 19th century individualist anarchist tradition with the modern left libertarian thinkers who are following in the former’s footsteps. Continue reading

Daniel Harding Reviews The Break


http://bluelibertyblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/review-the-break-by-sean-gabb/

‘The Break’ is the latest book by Sean Gabb, and another that explores another alternate timeline of the UK, as well as the amusing political outcomes of said universe. ‘The Break’ is set in the UK in 2018, in the aftermath of a disastrous event (the break) that has taken modern Britain and thrown her back near enough 1,000 years in time, or put her in an alternate universe in the more accurate sense. Most of the story is based around the quest of a young girl who needs to find her parents who have gone missing during her time abroad in Normandy. The other main character is the nephew of a Byzantine diplomat who have come to England to meet her rulers. Continue reading

Review of Richard Blake’s “Curse of Babylon”


The Curse of Babylon

by Richard Blake

Amid the plotting, revolts and wild hedonism of the remains of the Roman empire at the beginning of the seventh century, English adventurer Aelric faces his hardest challenge as he tries to stop a Persian invasion – and deal with a determined and dangerous woman. Continue reading

Richard Blake on the Byzantine Empire


Heraclius: Emperor of Byzantium
Walter E. Kaegi
Cambridge University Press, 2003, 380pp
ISBN 0 521 81459 6
Reviewed by Richard Blake

This is the first biography of Heraclius in over a century, and the first ever in English. That a biography was worth writing should be clear from the book’s cover note:

This book evaluates the life and times of the pivotal yet controversial and poorly understood Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (AD 610-641), a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad. Heraclius’ reign is critical for understanding the background to fundamental changes in the Balkans and the Middle East, including the emergence of Islam, at the end of Antiquity.

Though few in England know of him, Heraclius is one of the most astonishing figures in history. Except they are true, the facts of his life read like something out of legend. He seized power in 610 just as the Persians were turning their war with the Empire from a set of opportunistic raids into an attempt at its destruction. During the next ten years, every Imperial frontier crumbled. After a thousand years of control by Greeks, or by Greeks and Romans, Persia and Egypt fell to the Persians.. The Slavs and Avars took most of Greece. The Lombards and Visigoths nibbled away at the remaining European provinces in the West. Africa aside, the Empire was reduced to a core that covered roughly the same area as modern Turkey. Continue reading

“Monk” Lewis: The Dan Brown of 1796?


The Dan Brown of 1796?

Some years ago, when everybody else was was reading it, I read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It was pretty ridiculous, but it had an uncanny ability to keep me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. (RAW fans will recall that the main source material for the book also was used in RAW’s earlier novel, The Widow’s Son. Dan Brown’s lawyers apparently missed the chance to use The Widow’s Son as part of their defense in plagiarism trial.)

A few days ago, British writer Sean Gabb talked me into reading The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis. I asked Dr. Gabb why he listed Lewis as one of his favorite writers, and he replied, “The Monk is a gloatingly lurid tale of lust and horror. Lewis was seventeen when he wrote it. I was that when I read it. Unable to put it down, I took it into an A Level Mathematics exam. Dickens and Wilkie Collins much admired it. My mother read it some years back, and was surprised when I showed her the publication date.” So I read it (or more precisely, listened to the free LibriVox audiobook, ably read by James K. White.) I thought it was ridiculous, but I was hooked. I had to keep going to find out what would happen to its poor, tormented characters. Continue reading

How To Have Law Without Legislation


by Murray Rothbard
http://mises.org/daily/6804/How-To-Have-Law-Without-Legislation

How To Have Law Without Legislation

[Adapted from Rothbard’s book review of Freedom
and the Law
by Bruno Leoni. This review first
appeared in
New Individualist Review ,
edited by Ralph Raico.]

[In his book Freedom and the Law,] Professor [Bruno] Leoni’s major thesis is that even the staunchest free-market economists have unwisely admitted that laws must be created by governmental legislation; this concession, Leoni shows, provides an inevitable gateway for State tyranny over the individual. The other side of the coin to increasing intervention by government in the free market has been the burgeoning of legislation, with its inherent coercion by a majority—or, more often, by an oligarchy of pseudo-“representatives” of a majority—over the rest of the population. In this connection, Leoni presents a brilliant critique of F.A. Hayek’s recent writings on the “rule of the law.” In contrast to Hayek, who calls for general legislative rules as opposed to the vagaries of arbitrary bureaucracy or of “administrative law,” Leoni points out that the real and underlying menace to individual freedom is not the administrator but the legislative statute that makes the administrative ruling possible. [1] It is not enough, demonstrates Leoni, to have general rules applicable to everyone and written down in advance; for these rules themselves may—and generally do—invade freedom. Continue reading