At the intersection of the Random Book Project and our current predicament.

#5: Guido de Ruggiero, The History of European Liberalism (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961, reprint of OUP original from 1927). No price.

How did I get it: Been carrying it around with me since graduate school.

Why: Rereading this classic account of “the experiment” in classical liberalism, to remind me how we got here, and how easy it is/would be to foul it up, and end “the experiment.”  De Ruggiero’s work was published as a rebuff to the fascism which had taken over Italy at the time. Relevant conclusion: classical liberalism cannot be assumed. It has to be worked at by each new generation in order to be continued. Sound familiar?

What: A full intellectual history of European liberalism, upon which our version of “the experiment” is based. The economic elements require some updating, but reflect the circumstances in which it was written.

For some background, see the overview:

Guido de Ruggiero and the Crisis of Liberalism