Although well-written and sometimes illuminating, Nancy McClean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Steal Plan for America is so factually unreliable and tenuously argued that it is best viewed not has a serious work of historical investigation, but rather as a work of speculative historical fiction. Rather than expose the nefarious, “anti-democratic” motives of the public choice movement, and its founder James M. Buchanan, McClean’s misinformed and misguided book is an object lesson in how not to do intellectual history.

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