The Great: Economic Thought is up and running again! Jonathan has a good post on Bob Higgs's The Transformation of the American Economy, which covers the post-war economy (Civil War, of course!). In the post, he also highlights a new Mises Daily article he wrote on Rothbard's History of Money and Banking in the United States, contrasting it with Friedman and Schwartz's Monetary History of the United States. I'm not sure I agree with everything Jonathan says about Friedman and Schwartz (for example, it's simply not true that they derive theory from data rather than bringing a theory to the data, or that they treat events "as if they were solely a product of the market"), but if nothing else it presents a contrast between the two works. I haven't read either book in its entirety, but I've read large portions of the Monetary History for class, I've read the entire section on the Great Depression, and a lot of the early stuff for my 1920-21 depression paper. Same with Rothbard - haven't read him cover to cover, but I read a large selection for the paper. This all leads me to ask - what are people's favorite books on American economic history? I'm well into the first volume of Joseph Dorfman's The Economic Mind in American Civilization - the three volumes cover the period from 1606 to 1919. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in the history of economic thought. but I have a pile I've collected that are waiting for me. At a used bookstore I recently picked up Doug North's The Economic Growth of the United States: 1790-1860 (I already had his Institutional Change and American Economic Growth), and James Cobb's Industrialization and Southern Society 1877-1984. One of the ones I might read soon after Dorfman is Curtis Nettels's The Emergence of a National Economy, 1775-1815. I've also been meaning to read Bailyn's The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century and Frederick Toles's The Meeting House and The Counting House. From the Urban Institute library closing I recently acquired Legerblott's The Americans: An Economic Record. On my list for a long time has been Cooke's Tench Coxe and the Early Republic. And then there are several on the Great Depression which I still haven't gotten into yet (the Great Depression is like the Civil War for me - it's silly I know, but I feel like the entry barriers for this period of history are extremely high. There are so many experts out there that I don't want to dive in and be the naive one. Better to know 1910-1930 well, rather than be a perpetual novice at 1930-1945. Of course, that's an excellent way for me to stay a novice).
Does anyone have any other suggestions for good American economic history? I'm done with theory for a while - I've missed reading history so much so I think economic history is a lot of what I'll be reading this fall. I feel like a lot on my list are just classics that I feel like I ought to read and know, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best to read. If anyone out there is looking for suggestions, I can highly recommend Drew McCoy's The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America, and Susan Dunn's Dominion of Memories: Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia.
BTW - there are also new Economic Thought posts on Structural Unemployment, and Economic Calculation.
The Ugly: More gems from
The "No Comment": Steve Horwitz should not quit his day job :)