Paperback: The Theory of the Leisure Class, by Thorstein Veblen

Oxford £8.99 (263pp)
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The Independent Culture

Both acclaimed and derided on its first publication in 1899, this prescient analysis maintained that the US economy was propelled by the consumption of unessential items that enriched the greedy. Pertinent to our times – the editor of this edition cites Donald Trump and Paris Hilton in her introduction – the rather odd Veblen, who was dismissed from Stanford for womanising and died as a recluse in a mountain cabin, should be compulsory reading. Unfortunately, his dry and verbose satire could do with much more of the "unique and compelling vitality of idiom" that his editor claims.