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For Good and Evil
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About the Author

Charles Adams has degrees from Whittier College and UCLA, and is a certified specialist in taxation law. Other books of his include Those Dirty Rotten Taxes : The Tax Revolts that Built America. Adams lives in Buffalo, NY and winters in Phoenix, AZ.

Reviews

Adams, a tax attorney, presents the history of taxation from ancient times to the present. He studies tax law and collection procedures in ancient Egypt, Rome, Israel, Asia, Europe, and the United States, describing how taxation played a pivotal role in such earth-shattering events as the fall of Rome, the signing of the Magna Carta, and the American Revolution. The author analyzes lessons learned through study of the past and recommends measures for possible tax reform. The selected bibliography provides an excellent guide to further research. This important, timely study is highly recommended for business and history collections.-- Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., New York

This sweeping anecdotal survey of taxes through the ages aims to support the author's libertarian attacks on the current U.S. tax system and his call for a flat tax of 10% to replace the current income tax system. Tax attorney Adams ( Fight, Flight, Fraud: The Story of Taxation ) considers taxation a vital force in molding history; his discussions of civilizations ranging from that of ancient Greece to the French ancien regime are sometimes intriguing. For example, he suggests that the offer of tax immunity, rather than religious ideology, may have fueled the spread of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries. But Adams does not engage other historians to argue his ideas, and he can be inaccurate with facts--forgetting Hugo Black, he writes that by the time of Nixon's presidency, the Supreme Court ``had not had a Southerner for a hundred years.'' Some of his proposed reforms seem worthy--establish a crime for tax extortion, decriminalize the tax law--but others are dubious, such as the suggestion that members of Congress and federal judges be ``immune'' from the IRS. Moreover, his argument that low taxes were crucial to the ``miracle economies'' of Asia is simplistic; still more glaring is his failure to assess the impact of the Reagan administration's tax policies. (Apr.)

A fascinating...history of tax policy from Babylon to Bibi Anderson. Kirkus Reviews This important, timely guide is highly recommended. Library Journal For Good and Evil is, by any measure, a classic. It should be mandatory reading for every politician, economist, historian, and serious adult in the country. Compass Magazine An acidly witty guide. The Wall Street Journal

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