John Blundell's article in The Wall Street Journal Europe
For a courtly and gentle person Hayek was remarkable in the ferocity of his warnings about the socialist ideas that had apparently engulfed everyone’s perceptions. He, and his publishers, anticipated modest sales. In any case, war-time paper rationing allowed it to be printed only in small runs.
“The Road to Serfdom” was a book written for intellectuals, not a popular manifesto.
But a succession of events soon after publication turned
it into a popular phenomenon. First, it picked up so many favorable reviews that it soon became known as the book nobody could get because as quickly as another imprint rolled off the presses it vanished.
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The Wall Street Journal Europe