Book Review: Meltdown – A Free Market Look At Why The Stock Market Crashed …

The full, proper title is: Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse.

This new book by historian/economist Dr. Thomas E. Woods Jr. is a must-read. It’s not an economics text, it’s an easy to read book explaining how we got where we are and what we should do next.

The details:
– hardcover, 194 pages
– February 9, 2009
– ISBN-10: 1596985879

Right out of the gate you can be confident it will be good, Dr. Ron Paul wrote the foreword. ;-)

Dr. Woods also wrote Who Killed The Constitution as well as 33 Questions about American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. All HIGHLY readable and recommended.

Some names you will encounter in the book: Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, Schumpeter, and Rothbard. All good news. And as examples of what not to do you’ll see the names like Keynes and Krugman.

Meltdown explains the underlying causes of the current economic and financial crises, with a particularly harsh (and well-deserved) look at the Federal Reserve system now in place. Note that this is not a simple right-wing attack on Democrats and liberals, though they are called out as well. Both Republicans and Democrats are taken to task when appropriate by Dr. Woods.


The core of the book, and I think its strength, are two sections that do a wonderful job explaining the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle and then the fundamentals of money and inflation. I think the world would be a much better place if high school seniors read just those two chapters.

Here are a few specific items that jumped out at me and seemed worth noting.
1. ‘Blaming the crisis on ‘greed’ is like blaming plane crashed on gravity.’ p. 2
2. The fed is a common denominator, the elephant in the living room. p. 3
3. Culprit #1, Fannie & Freddie. p. 13

4. Culprit #2, CRA. p. 17.
5. Cisneros, Countrywide, Fannie, Cuomo, ACORN. p. 20
6. is more regulation the answer? p. 29

7. Are some entities too big to fail? (the opposite is true) p. 31
8. Using your home equity as an ATM. p. 33
9. The ban on shorting. p. 43

10. Sarbanes-Oxley, what has it done? p. 48
11. Are there shortcuts to create wealth and prosperity? p. 60
12. How Govt. Causes the Boom-Bust Cycle, Chapter 4

13. Inflation? What and why? p. 121
14. Deflation and growth by deflation, p. 135
15. Consumption vs. Production, p. 143

16. Say’s Law, p. 145
17. Suggestions for further reading, p. 161

In short, grab this book, you’ll be glad you did. It’s a brief and easy read, the explanations of the business cycle and the money/inflation are excellent and easily understood by nearly anyone.

Other books:
Who Killed the Constitution?
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
33 Questions about American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask

Related links re: Dr. Woods:
Tooth Fairy Economics – by Tom Woods
Thomas E. Woods — Unnatural Disaster
Dr. Tom Woods has a new site
Learning for Liberty by Thomas E. Woods, Jr
Podcast with Dr. Tom Woods
Tom Woods Interviews Bob Murphy