Any Ron Paul fan, libertarian, or interested party would be well served by picking up Brian Doherty’s Ron Paul’s Revolution. One of Doherty’s previous works, Radicals for Capitalism, was released just as I began to consider myself a libertarian. It served as an intellectual index, that not only quickly educated me on the history of the libertarian movement, but also lead to the purchase of many other books to deepen my libertarian understanding.
In many ways, Ron Paul’s Revolution feels like a sequel to Radicals for for Capitalism. At the time I finished reading Radicals, I was left to wonder what’s next for the libertarian movement. Obviously, a large part of libertarian history from then to now has been dominated by Ron Paul’s two latest Presidential runs and their effects on the American political landscape.
Doherty has clearly done his homework, as the book is extensively researched. It reads almost as an oral history of all things Ron Paul.
Perhaps, my favorite part of the book was Doherty’s treatment of the 2008 campaign. As someone who sign waved in the cold the day of the Iowa Caucuses in 2008, that part of the book had a major nostalgia factors. Reading about all the great individuals efforts of the 2008 campaign reminded me of a more pure naive idealism the Paul crowd shared back then.
I also liked the details of Ron Paul, the man, the reader gets to see. Having met Dr. Paul several times, I had a sense of what the man was like, but again, Doherty’s extensive research and first person accounts give the reader a clear picture of Dr. Paul’s sense of humor and how his personal convictions influence his politics.
Lastly, I liked the extra tidbits of information included in the book. From reading it, I got an idea on the shifts that occurred in the Republican Party and a few morsels of Austrian economics are also nestled with the book’s pages. I think anyone interested in Ron Paul or the libertarian movement would be hard pressed to read this book and not be influenced to read some other libertarian work mentioned in it’s pages. I will confess to googling agorism and adding The New Libertarian Manifesto to my Amazon Wish List.
With any review, sadly not everything is positive. Despite, the research and the clear writing, there was at least one glaring typo. Doherty twice refers to the Pella Opera House as the Pilla Opera House. Mistakes happen, and I only caught this one because I once lived only 15 miles from Pella, Iowa. Also, while the book makes mention of both the coalitions formed around the 2012 campaign, and Paul’s popularity with the college crowd, the Youth for Paul movement is never explicitly mentioned. Since Ron Paul began his Youth for Paul speaking tour at LSU, and was introduced by me and fellow Paulista, Greg Huete, I would have loved to seen that fact in print for obviously biased reasons.
The last complaint I have with the book, if you can call it that, is that the book seems to end prematurely. Obviously, not every fact can be complied in one volume, but the book ends seemingly before the New Hampshire primary. Even though the campaign stumbled from then on, the delegate strategy has netted several hundred Paul delegates. Those delegates will be in Tampa in August vying to influence the Republican platform. Not only that, but prior to the convention, events like Paul Fest and Freedom Festival 2012 will be going on in Tampa. Paul, himself, will be having a rally the Sunday before the convention. That rally will be the last we see of Ron Paul as a Presidential candidate and it will happen only a few months before Paul leaves Congress. Even though Doherty couldn’t have known those facts at the time, whatever happens in Tampa in August already feels like the end of a chapter in the liberty movement and may have made a better ending for Ron Paul’s Revolution.
Overall, Ron Paul’s Revolution is sure to delight Paulistas everywhere. It’s clearly written, well researched, and provides valuable insight into Ron Paul and his movement. While future works may attempt to explain the Ron Paul Revolution, few other writers would have done the painstaking research or been so embedded in the movement already as Brian Doherty. Buy this book.