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February 20, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(8):825-826. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63020080007020

It is a unique privilege and a delight to read for the first time a time-tested classic; it is an even rarer privilege to recognize a great book when first it is published. Such is "The Constitution of Liberty,"1 intended to be published 100 years to the day after the first appearance of John Stuart Mill's essay, "On Liberty."

Fifteen years ago Professor Hayek warned eloquently of the trend of human events in western civilization in a volume entitled "The Road to Serfdom." Phenomenally successful, its impact on liberal thought can be credited with having dealt a mortal blow against the socialism then growing in England. Professor Hayek has now developed more fully a system of political and social thought dedicated to liberty and based on the thesis that only through liberty can the spirit of civilization survive. It provides the most significant contribution in the 20th century to