Revolutionary War buffs and scholars of early American history will find the writings of Mercy Otis Warren, resurrected by Liberty Classics, a fascinating narrative by one of the few women chroniclers of the era. Antifederalist in perspective, the History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution (Indianapolis, 2 vols., 762 pp., $30/$15) not only provides a look at historical events but offers a perspective on the ethical and philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution.
Another Liberty Classics book, The Correspondence of Adam Smith (464 pp., $7.50 paper), edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner and Ian Simpson Ross, gives a glimpse into Smith's private life. By his own admission a lazy correspondent, Smith wrote mostly insubstantial letters inquiring after the health or activities of his friends. However, occasional missives to such renowned thinkers as David Hume, Edmund Burke, or Jeremy Bentham contain commentary that fleshes out Smith's own philosophy. But even the more mundane epistles help bring Smith to life, verifying his own assertion that "the smallest circumstances, the most minute transactions of a great man, are sought after with eagerness."
Ayn Rand: The Voice of Reason—Essays in Objectivist Thought (New York: New American Library, 353 pages, $19.95) offers Rand's perspective on a variety of topics—the Vietnam War, the space program, religion, and even Marilyn Monroe. Also included in the collection are essays by her literary executor, Leonard Peikoff, and one essay by Peter Schwartz, editor of The Intellectual Activist. Concisely defined in the book's introduction, Rand's Objectivist philosophy "upholds capitalism in politics, on the basis of egoism in ethics, on the basis of reason in epistemology." This collection of works amply illustrates Rand's development of these ideas.
For lighter fare, James Hogan's high-tech thriller The Mirror Maze (New York: Bantam, 448 pp., $4.95 paper) portrays a future America in which a third political party, the Constitutionals, has united the country around the goal of unrestrained freedom. Hogan, former winner of the Prometheus Award, here gives us intrigue as well as food for thought.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Book Hints".