"When people are free to pursue their own interest, they can use their freedom to conduct the ordinary business of life to their own advantage and people tend to prosper. It is only bad economic policy that stands in the way of social success."

Bryson has researched comparative economic systems, international economics, and socialism for half a century. As part of his lifelong exploration, he has lived and worked in West Berlin, East Berlin, Munich, Vienna, London, Moscow and elsewhere, has taught in universities, and to date has authored eight books on these and related topics. As a result of all that impressive background, Professor Bryson states that he has great concerns about the fiscal, social, and political implications of socialist initiatives in recent American history, particularly in the Obama administration. To deal with his concerns, he has decided to bring them to light in this latest effort. He accomplishes that with an abundance of historical perspectives, detailed explanations, and deliberate viewpoints.

As skilled with prose as he is fervent in opinion, Bryson has been resolute in his determination to make this newest volume the last word on international and American socialism. Readers may experience an initial reaction of delight in learning of the existence of such a book, simply because the mere mention of the word socialism brings with it massive baggage and confusion. For others, it may signal hope and promise. While a captivating compendium is needed, many of the ideas expressed here embrace only a single political stance and lack the neutrality required for a comprehensive treatise on the subject. However, for those who embrace a more right-wing political position, this book will undoubtedly prove intriguing. There is no denying that Bryson provides—in a literary manner yet refreshingly non-academic way—what many will view as an indispensable lesson on the history of socialism: its goals, misperceptions, and problems.

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