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My note to the author of Last Knight

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02/25/2008
Here is a note that I wrote Guido Hulsmann, author of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism:

I have finally finished reading your great book about Mises. When I use the word "great," I mean not simply that it weighs at least a kilo and contains more than 1,000 pages. I mean most of all that it is a magnificent scholarly achievement. I can't remember when I have taken more pleasure from a book. It is  a joy to read, in every way. The English is precise and polished, and everything  is put just right. The research is amazingly broad, yet deep, too. The judgments  are sensible and mature. The coverage--from the personal details to the content  of Mises's ideas to the context in which he lived and worked--is extraordinary,  and the organization puts everything into comprehensible order. The bibliography  is more than impressive. All in all, the book is simply an amazing  accomplishment, and a fitting tribute to its great subject.

The Mises Institute deserves great credit, too, not only for its support of your work on this project, but also for producing a book that is a fine example  of the publisher's art: the typeface is clean and clear, and large enough to  permit effortless reading; the layout is spacious and proper; the footnotes are where they should be, and they, too, are large enough to be read without a  magnifying glass; the illustrations are splendid complements to the text; and  the indexes are terrific. The work is thus not simply beautiful intellectually,  but beautiful physically, as well.

If I had ever written anything half so wonderful--and I recognize that I lack the abilities to do so--I would consider my career a complete success, and feel myself justified in taking my ease, to rest on my laurels. I do not perceive that you have this plan in mind for yourself, and therefore the world will be the better, not only for your great book on Mises, but also for all the great achievements that lie in your future. I salute you, my friend, not without  a touch of envy, but with my whole heart.

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for the Independent Institute and editor of The Independent Review. He is the 2007 recipient of the Gary G. Schlarbaum Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Cause of Liberty, and the 2015 Murray N. Rothbard Medal of Freedom.

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