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Friedrich Hayek: A Biography

Friedrich Hayek: A Biography

A Biography

Alan Ebenstein

St. Martin's Press


This book tells the story of one of the most important public figures of the twentieth century. It is the first full biography of Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian economist who became, over the course of a remarkable career, the great philosopher of liberty in our time. In this richly detailed portrait, Alan Ebenstein chronicles the life, works, and legacy of a visionary thinker, from Hayek's early years as the scholarly son of a physician in fin-de-siecle Vienna on an increasingly wider world as an economist and political philosopher in London, New York, and Chicago. Ebenstein gives a balanced, integrated account of Hayek's extraordinary diverse body of work, from his fist encounter with the free market ideas of mentor Ludwig Von Mises to his magisterial writings in later life on the legal, political, ethical, and economic requirements of a free society. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974, Hayek's vision of a renewed classical liberalism-of free markets and free ideas in free societies-has taken hold in much of the world. Alan Ebenstein's clearly written account is an essential starting point for anyone seeking to understand why Hayek's ideas have become the guiding force of our time. His illuminating portrait of Hayek the man brings to new life the spirit of a great scholar and tenacious advocate who has become, in Peter Drucker's words, "our time's preeminent social philosopher."


Praise for Friedrich Hayek: A Biography

“ illustrious exposition of the life of the last century's greatest political philosopher.” —Houston Chronicle

“A splendid biography of the twentieth century's greatest philosopher of liberty. A well written, sympathetic, yet critical examination of his life and intellectual contributions.” —Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Chicago, and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1976

“It is good to have this solid intellectual biography of Hayek available. It can supplement the several generalized evaluations of Hayek's ideas.” —James M. Buchanan, Center for Study of Public Choice, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at George Mason University and Virginia Tech, and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1986

“Ebenstein blends an account of Hayek's personal life (1899-1992) with analysis of his thought, producing a chronological overview of a man praised by some for extraordinary commitment to his principles and dismissed by others as an ideologue. Whole chapters of this biography are devoted to description and assessment of Hayek's major writings, and while the treatment is mostly friendly it is not uncritical. Ebenstein has made a significant contribution to understanding an important figure.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lively intellectual journey...Mr. Ebenstein tells it well...[an] astute biography.” —Wall Street Journal

“It offers an accessible and illuminating review of Hayek's life, philosophy, and accomplishments. With it even a layman will better understand economics as well as the man.” —Washington Times

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Alan Ebenstein

Alan Ebenstein is a professor of economics and political theory. He is the author of several books.

Dr. Alan Ebenstein

Dr. Alan Ebenstein

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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