Here's the opening:
Harry Truman longed for a one-armed economist who couldn't tell him, "But, on the other hand …" As the economic mismanagement of the 1970s is forgotten and the profession's confidence soars, however, the opposite has emerged: the two-fisted economist. These scholarly brawlers self-assuredly venture far beyond their traditional topics.
Steven D. Levitt's 2005 pop economics bestseller Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything featured his views on the Ku Klux Klan (he's against it), real estate agents (they're kind of like the KKK), sumo wrestling (it's dishonest), and, most famously, the legalization of abortion in the 1970s (it reduced crime in the 1990s by, in effect, pre-emptively executing unwanted babies more likely to become criminals).
Freakonomics, which sold three million copies, included a half page of scandalmongering about rival economist John R. Lott Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime, who had attacked Dr. Levitt's abortion-cut-crime theory. Dr. Lott responded by suing Dr. Levitt for defamation. Now, Dr. Lott has struck back more constructively with his endlessly thought-provoking Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't (Regnery, pp. 275, $27.95).