Gene Epstein, writing for Barron's in the August 3, 1998, issue, suggests Rothbard's monumental work on the history of economic thought.
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Epstein says, in part:
"Another of my favorite intellectual feasts is the two-volume work by Murray N. Rothbard on the history of economic thought -- the first entitled, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith; the second, Classical Economics. I've read about two-thirds of each and skimmed the rest. Both are exhilarating trips through the multitude of ways in which man has thought about economic issues.
"Three of my favorite parts include the discussion of Aristotle's refutation of Plato's communism, the brilliant excoriation of the supposed "father" of economics, the 18th century Adam Smith, and the devastating dissection of Karl Marx. About a half-million words in all, and a bargain at $199 for both volumes in hardcover; call the Mises Institute at 800-636-4737 for copies. It's a tragedy that Rothbard didn't live to complete the third and final volume, which would have dealt with economic thought in the modern era."