My REASON review on the Panic of 1837

My review of Jessica Lepler’s The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics, and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis appears in the July issue of Reason. It has now been posted online.

Only after agreeing to review the book and receiving my copy, did I realize that Lepler’s study was far too academic and specialized for the typical Reason reader. But previously, when they had asked me to review Thomas Fleming’s Civil War book (A Disease of the Public Mind) and I had agreed, it turned out to be an awful example of cliche-ridden, superficial pop history at its worst. So I told them it wasn’t worth reviewing, and I didn’t consider it wise to do that again with the Lepler book, even though it would have been for the exact opposite reason.

A much better, recent book on the panic of 1837, despite my disagreeing with most of its interpretations, is Alasdair Roberts’s America’s First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837 (2013). I mentioned it in the first draft of my Lepler review, but it was in a section that Reason edited out.

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