Why Historians have Failed to Recognize Mises’s Theory and History

Theory and History is often said to be Ludwig von Mises’ least read and least appreciated book. This article argues that historians in the Anglo-American world generally did not understand the German and Austrian traditions that Mises drew on, and that their early reviews of the book therefore fundamentally misunderstood its purpose. Most saw it as a political tract. Some commented on Mises’ contribution to the debate about the autonomy of the discipline of history. Few, however, understood Mises’ apriorism or logical approach. To understand why Theory and History has not been recognized for its a contribution to historical methodology, we must first understand Mises’ place as an outsider in the debates on historiography in the 1950s.