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Kathy Shaidle

‘The Road to Serfdom’ NOT about how Malibu Barbie gets to the beach

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Posted on June 18 2010 4:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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So a Newsweek writer admits she didn’t read past page 10 of Glenn Beck’s new novel The Overton Window, but that didn’t stop her from bloviating not just about that book, but also about another book with a Beck connection.

And boy, does she screw up.
Isia Jasiewicz (who Robert Stacy McCain identifies as an “intern” and a “Princeton senior”) notes (correctly) that Friedrich von Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom recently rocketed up the Amazon.com bestseller list after Glenn Beck recommended the economics classic on his Fox News television show.

Jasiewicz goes on to helpfully explain to Newsweek‘s few remaining readers that:

The Road to Serfdom is a treatise on libertarianism, well-known only in academic circles or among political theory wonks stalwart enough to wade through the 60-page introduction and chapters on “Planning and the Rule of Law” and “The Prospects of International Order.”

Before she got this assignment, I’m guessing Jasiewicz thought The Road to Serfdom was the way Malibu Barbie got to the beach.

Look: I don’t have a byline at Newsweek or anything. I sure as hell never went to university, let alone Princeton. And being a middle aged woman has very few advantages, believe me. But despite all those handicaps, I did happen to know the following right off the top of my head:

[The Road to Serfdom] was originally published by Routledge Press in March 1944 in the UK and then by the University of Chicago Press in September 1944.

A condensed version of the book written by Max Eastman was then published as the lead article in the April issue of Reader’s Digest, with a press run of several million copies.

This condensed version was then offered as a Book of the Month selection with a press run of over 600,000 copies.

In February 1945 a picture-book version was published in Look magazine, later made into a pamphlet  and distributed by General Motors [ME: a big company from the olden days…]

The book has been translated into approximately 20 languages (…) The introduction to the 50th anniversary edition is written by Milton Friedman (another recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics 1976).

In 2007, the University of Chicago Press put out a “Definitive Edition.” In total the book has sold over two million copies.

In other news: Newsweek still hasn’t found a buyer.

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