"A fascinating book. David Levy is a scholar who is not afraid to get his feet wet by wading beyond disciplinary limits, sometimes with astounding results. What Thomas Carlyle and his literary cohorts were really saying about classical economics and economists will shock modern sensibilities, even those of the most virulent market critics."
—James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1986
"David Levy is always provocative, and this is Levy at his best. I'm not sure of the Ur destination, but that destination ain't the normal neoclassical station."
—David Colander, Middlebury College
"Nice people take the human side in what Toynbee called 'the bitter argument between economists and human beings.' In these brilliant essays Levy puts the record straight at last. Economics defends us from fascism so often favoured by literary intellectuals. This book is a major contribution to the study of nineteenth-century culture."
—A. M. C. Waterman, University of Manitoba
"Levy's scintillating volume offers a startlingly original reinterpretation of Carlyle's well-known characterization of classical economics as 'the dismal science.' Levy examines the positions of classical economics and its nineteenth century Victorian literary critics, as seen through the specific prism of the anti-slavery debate. He argues, persuasively in my view, that it was the economists, and not the poets, who were the 'true friends of humanity.'"
—Nathan Rosenberg, Department of Economics, Stanford University
"Levy tells a fascinating story, backed by stunning erudition and analyses that are as dazzling as they are convincing. No one who reads this provocative study will be able to view the Victorian literary 'sages' in quite the same way again."
—Martine Watson Brownley, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emory University
"Classical economic doctrine emerges from David Levy's brilliant and thoroughly engaging study of its social, political, and literary context as unmistakably reformist and compassionate. There can now be no excuse whatsoever for those caricatures of the great economists that to this day disfigure so much commentary by specialists and nonspecialists alike."
—Samuel Hollander, Professor of Economics, Ben Gurion University
"Levy's brave book, intriguing throughout, exhibits the disreputable, even racist, history of the case against capitalism. It will not please the reds, or the greens. They need it, though."
—Deirdre McCloskey, UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, and English, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Tinbergen Professor of Economics, Philosophy, and Art and Cultural Studies, Erasmusuniversiteit Rotterdam
". . . highly interesting, worth telling and worth reading. No longer will economists be forced to fumble for some Malthusian explanation as the reason for the [sic] Carlyle's 'liberal' critique. Levy shows that the Malthusian problem was not the real issue. Racism was."
—Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Auburn University, Public Choice, 116 (2003)
"Levy relentlessly tracks [the] collective and long-term literary assault on British economists as destroyers of both cultural and social cohesion. The attackers invoked language of genocidal virulence against a number of low-status outsiders, including blacks, Jews, and the Irish. Levy abundantly documents the ways in which twentieth-century cultural critics, both left and right, developed a tradition of silence about the ethno-racial slurs embedded in Carlyle's writings in order to perpetuate his heroic stature as a literary pioneer in the cultural critique of early capitalism. . . . I recommend this intriguing work to students of literature, economics, and history alike."
—Seymour Drescher, University of Pittsburgh, Not identified
"While the arguments of this fascinating book can be difficult and the reasoning sometimes elusive, the importance of the message and the light it sheds on the relationship between the foundational assumptions of economic theory and a benevolent view of human association make it well worth the reader's effort."
—Karen Vaughn, George Mason University, Ideas on Liberty, March 2003