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How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  623 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Here’s the real history of our country. How Capitalism Saved America explodes the myths spun by Michael Moore, the liberal media, Hollywood, academia, and the rest of the anticapitalist establishment.

Whether it’s Michael Moore or the New York Times, Hollywood or academia, a growing segment in America is waging a war on capitalism. We hear that greedy plutocrats exploit the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 23rd 2005 by Crown Forum (first published January 1st 2004)
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4.12  · 
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 ·  623 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economic-history
When reading anything associated with the Von Mises institute you will always get a contrarian view to just about everything you learned in school. Nothing different in this great book by Prof. DiLorenzo.

Chapter 1: "What is Capitalism" points out the main ideas associated with this form of economy. Because everyone has different needs at different times, it is impossible for the economy to be centrally planned and have it work out, i.e Soviet Union, Cuba, & Old China among others. In a free
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In How Capitalism Saved America, DiLorenzo tells the story of America from Jamestown to present. DiLorenzo explains how capitalism has both been the primary driver of our country's success, and is constantly under attack from those who would advocate additional government control. He contrasts capitalism with mercantilism very clearly, and explains that in almost all cases, when the public criticizes capitalism, they are really criticizing mercantilism. A great example is 'corporate welfare.' Ca ...more
Tyler L.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was better than I anticipated. It was organized very well and succeeded in drawing distinctions between capitalism and mercantilism. DiLorenzo, an economist by trade, has become a remarkable student of history with his many years of research and writing.

DiLorenzo covers the most essential topics:

-The collectivized agriculture of the Pilgrims causes starvation until they implemented private property rights.

-The mercantilism of the American colonies led to their capitalist revolt in 17
Never before has the reading of a book stirred me to violent action against the book itself (I threw it against the wall).

After having thoroughly enjoyed his attack on Lincoln as an amoralist mercantilist in chapter 5, I was then coldcocked unawares by this bit of soulless capitalist ideology in chapter 6 (in reference to a Ludwig von Mises affirmation of the righteousness of early 19th century factory jobs):

The same can be said of the conditions in some of the world's less-developed countries t
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Furb by:
This book is an excellent presentation on the problems of government 'regulations' into free market mechanisms. This book illustrates simply and clearly how many chaotic economic problems were actually caused by interference from government regulations.

Many historical examples are cited, from how Governor Bradford in the days of the Pilgrims ended communal property ownership (thus ending a long period of starvation), to how free market capitalist James J. Hill (railroad tycoon) outperformed his
One of the best books I've ever read. It answered many of the questions I've been pondering on for a long time. Some of my favorite statistics from the book:

"Only 5 percent of families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution in 1975 were still there in 1991. More than three-fourths of them had made their way up to the two highest income quintiles."

"Less than 1 percent of the sample population remained in the bottom 20 percent during the entire time period under study"

This book is a great
Daniel Moss
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, economics
All we ever hear is a one-sided version of history, politics, and economics. This book dispels the commonly held beliefs in monopolies, trust-busting, union wages, child labor, robber barons, the 'new deal', government regulations, and the blame that capitalist receives for things that either are the fault of the government or mercantilism, not capitalism.

Easy to read, good prose, explained well! Definitely a high recommendation from me.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
A great antidote to the anticapitalist myths that seem to be getting ever stronger in this country. I recently read some of my little brother's American History textbook, which (for one example) treated FDR as some kind of god rather than a misguided leader with semi-fascist views. This book presents the good side of capitalism, which we ignore at our peril.
Felix de la Montana
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
More appropriately titled 'How Capitalism Built America', the book argues in favor of letting business, rather than social engineering via government, build civilization.
Catherine Burns
Jan 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I disliked the one sided view of this book (in its defence, I guess the clue's in the title). This, together with the arrogant, slightly sneery tone with which it's written added to the whole sorry experience - if it wasn't a library book it would have got hurled across the room on multiple occasions.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
How Capitalism Saved America takes concrete, historical examples from American history, some of which have been turned into anti-capitalist myths, and shows how capitalism was and is essential to this country's progress and survival. Some of the usual myths perpetuated by the anti-capitalists are presented and shown to be inaccurate; however, some of the best material deals with first colonies and Pilgrims.
Gabriel Richard
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and the little known facts that aren't taught in school regarding the actions of individuals to achieve ends that the state and any governing body can only dream of. From tackling the "Gilded Age" to "Robber Barrons" and the "New Deal," This book surprises and well informs of the benefits of a free society.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is far more useful and interesting than any of my history classes. I now wish I had studied economics in college. Unfortunately, many of our country's leaders have not learned from history. This book makes it really simple.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
It took me a while to get through this, but I did enjoy it. I thought a better title would have been "The Attack on American Capitalism". Many interesting ideas presented. I see history repeating itself today with some of the slogans I hear and some of the news reports.
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Shines light on capitalism and how social responsibility is diminishing. The politicians are at fault
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
Another good book for anyone looking to understand politics and economics.... providing the counter argument for those tired of the old leftist argument against capitalism!
Tim Speer
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book by DiLorenzo is excellent and should be required reading for all graduating High School Students!
Douglas Wilson
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
DiLorenzo is one of those unenviable writers whose task it is, in this age of Obama, to prove that water doesn't flow uphill. He does a great job.
Kenneth Ross Johnson
A great and informative read

I already had a pretty good grasp of the economics of capitalism, but now thanks to another great book by Thomas DiLorenzo, my understanding is former and clearer. I feel ready now to refute the often thoughtless claims by duped Americans, victims of the government's indoctrination and self aggrandizing myths. I wish I had this knowledge when I was growing up in the public school system!
Christian Orton
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might be my favorite book ever. Read during our trip to Boston, so I was able to walk and see so many of the historical examples he uses.
Jul 18, 2016 added it
This is mostly a work of history, and as such is difficult to either confirm or refute unless one has knowledge of the period. However, there are good reasons not to trust DiLorenzo. See for instance Richard Gamble's review of Real Lincoln, which is largely sympathetic to the attempt, but unhappy with the scholarship. As such, it would not shock me if this were a similar matter, or even that he might be right and badly documenting it (I know of at least one mistake: Hamilton's bank was not ended ...more
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent debunking of the justification for all the socialist spending programs of our Federal government. We are continually told that booms and busts are all part of the free market, but it's been a long time since we've had a free market. He also goes into Mercantilsm, the opposite of Capitalism, which is when the government favors certain businesses. The American revolution was largely an economic one, since Great Britain practiced Mercantilism.

Here is something very applicable to our curre
David Robins
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Takes on and sets straight the anticapitalists that blame a straw-man capitalism for the ills of collectivist states, illustrating how capitalism preserved the pilgrims, enriched the working man, increased people's standard of living, and how it is wrongly blamed for the (mercantilist, crony "capitalist") robber barons, Great Depression, was harmed by the New Deal - which dragged out the Depression - and how price controls result in shortages, with the energy crisis as prime example. There is a ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I agree with almost all of what he is saying. Antitrust, Microsoft, Big food, Tobacco, Government subsidies, everything. But, I still can't figure out if this will apply to the latest restrictions placed on the financial industry in the US. Basically, what happens if the majority of an industry goes down a slippery slope? should the government step in to prevent a sudden crash and put in rules to prevent it? And by his theory, we should have let GM and Ford fold. And that could have been a disas ...more
Shea Mastison
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was a pretty good book, but I had heard virtually everyone of DiLorenzo's arguments on the Mises website a couple years back, in the online lectures that they offer. Even, if I remember correctly, Tom Woods, Jr. was the one predominantly lecturing on the issues of the "robber barons," child labor, and the ability of capitalism to generally improve the lot of everyone.

This book is not as impassioned as "The Real Lincoln," and the author is plainly not as invested in making a case as to why
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once again turns classroom history on its head. Interested to fact check a few items and see how much he cherry picks, but all of the anecdotes make sense. Only complaint (side from some repetitiveness) is the last chapter, railing against other authors for anti-capitalist texts. As a free market believer, the chapter would read better if the author sounded a little less like he wanted to ban them, and merely pointed out their errors, hoping that knowledge would prevail.
Adam Ross
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is a really fantastic introduction to the history of capitalism in the U.S. and what it has done. A great place to start, even though Dilorenzo stumbles in a couple of places and is hampered by a somewhat over-individualistic approach.
A very good primer on libertarian economic theory and their perspective on the history of the United States. Nothing particularly new or shocking here; all the usual points are covered, and all the typical questions are ignored. Textbook free-market fundamentalism.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Clearly explains what Capitalism is and and gives lots of historical examples.
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Thomas James DiLorenzo is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland. He identifies himself as an adherent of the Austrian School of economics. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and an associated scholar of the Abbeville Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech.
“Except for spending to protect property rights, enforce the law, and protect citizens from foreign aggressors, all government spending crowds out private spending and weakens the vitality of capitalism.” 0 likes
“Private property and capitalism also provide strong incentives to preserve resources for the future, whereas political resource allocation under democracy tends toward immediate gratification.” 0 likes
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