Complete Libertarian Forum (1969-1984)
Murray N. Rothbard
It's finally here, the bound edition (two massive volumes, hardcover) of the Libertarian Forum that serious collectors and readers only dreamed about a few years ago. Those who were lucky enough to have the complete set held onto them for dear life.
After all, their value was legendary: the Libertarian Forum, edited by Murray N. Rothbard from 1969 to 1984, had a small, even tiny, circulation but it forged the intellectual edifice known as libertarianism.
Month after month, the newsletter thrilled, enlightened, shocked, and awed its subscribers. Everything was on the table. And here are all the issues again, as smart, gossipy, and fresh as they were when they were first written.
This was where Murray wrote his extraordinary movie reviews, his searing political commentary on everything from Nixon, Carter, and Reagan to the New Left and the New Right, and his contemporary history of the libertarian movement, from the founding of the Libertarian Party to the implosion of the movement in the 1980s. It is all bracing, fun, controversial, and fire hot.
As the saying goes, he was just one man with a typewriter, but he changed the world. The appearance of this incredible newsletter in book form brings joy to the heart. Murray would be exuberantly happy to see it all come back!
Making them available was originally Walter Block's idea. Initially it seemed impossible. We didn't have all issues. The costs would be prohibitive. The volumes would be too thick and unwieldy. Would their content still be relevant?
Once we began to look carefully at this treasure, it was clear that it had to be done.
It is still huge: 1202 pages! But we put it into two volumes to make it manageable. And thanks to donors who also saw the need, and the many people who worked to find copies and send them to us, we put together an entire set, and now they are all available to make another huge dent in the history of the world.
It was a miracle publication in many ways—something that would never have been published by a mainstream house. It existed from 1969 to 1984. It was a passionate, smart, gossipy, and often shocking newsletter that is as fresh today as when it was written. It was low circulation but it exercised huge influence. It gave birth to the libertarian movement, raised it through its infancy and teen years, and gave it a farewell once it entered adulthood.
If you think libertarian ideas are marginal today, imagine what it was like in the 1970s. This body of ideas that consistently championed liberty in all its forms had been banished from the world of ideas. But Rothbard's newsletter set out to change that. It quickly became the publication you had to read to understand the movement and the world, and it had a hand in shaping both.
You will see many names that you recognize (Murray wasn't the only writer), and hear the details on subjects in libertarian history about which you have heard only rumors. You will discover how a brilliant intellectual read and understood the daily news from a radical libertarian perspective. In short, if you want to understand modern libertarianism—or even modern politics—these volume are not only essential; they are a priceless and indispensable resource.