Ron Paul, the eleven-term congressman from Texas, first sought public office in 1974 to speak out against government monetary policy, and End the Fed proves how passionately he still wants the Federal Reserve’s carcass in his trophy room. The libertarian-cum-Republican rails against the central banking system for its alleged role in all things fiscally evil, from printing paper money as a way to finance military adventurism to “counterfeiting” currency not backed by a precious-metal standard. Paul could have swayed open-minded readers by demonstrating a causal relationship between his bête noire and the world’s woes, but he mostly rabble-rouses (the Fed is “unconstitutional” and “did more damage . . . than 9/11”), so that even a conversation between him and Ben Bernanke is dominated by his gassy comments. Further, his claim that “markets are self-regulating, responding to the wishes of consumers” turns a blind eye to big business’s role in pushing adjustable-rate mortgages and 64-ounce sodas. Still, despite his cranky obsessions, Paul ultimately shows himself to be a thoughtful and humane example of homo politicus, reminding us that he is an essential and brainy gadfly buzzing in ears across Capitol Hill and the executive office. Grand Central, $21.99