Economic theory, rather than historical analysis, provides the key to understanding the Civil War era, according the Thornton and Ekelund.This is a problem in any conversation with Libertarians. Reviewer Jane Flaherty notes,
Throughout the book, the authors prate about their theories, but one is hard pressed to characterize their work as innovative. Charles A. Beard offered the same economic determinism eighty years ago. They present a few interesting ideas, but these are overwhelmed by the authors' regrettable habit of making uninformed, flippant comments.She observes that
Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation lacks historical perspective. However, I do not believe this comment will offend the authors. They show repeated contempt for historians and the process of historical research, an unfortunate trend amongst economists who write about the past.Flaherty manages to recommend the book by the end of her review, nonetheless. A long, enjoyable must-read review.