I absolutely love this book. It's a long lost classic as far as I'm concerned. It's value lays in the fact that it gives a concise history of economic systems that has long been forgotten by most people. It discusses the rise of mercantilism, early capitalism and of course it has radical critiques of modern capitalism, at least around the 80s. It's not the last pages that will blow your mind hole but the overall timeline. You can see that capitalism, broadly defined, is the best system to date.
The book doesn't say "life was great until capitalism occurred then it was awful." It describes the improvements, it just doesn't think that it's the "End of History" economically speaking. It gives a fair overview of communism and socialism, it doesn't say that Russia is the best country because they've adopted a corrupted, bastard version of communism though.
Why do conservatives hate this book? It's because it's not a capitalist love fest that they want everybody to buy into. It gives readers the pros and cons of the system and as I stated even some radical critiques. For instance, it gives the theory that without the military industrial complex then we would simply not have enough jobs for everybody. Is that so radical? I don't think so at all, Western Europe doesn't have a huge military industrial complex but unemployment is high (not just now, but it has been). Another radical idea is that the proponents of totally free markets don't always have empirical evidence to support it. They're philosophizing about it, like Austrian/Ron Paul types who don't ever do any studies.
Another reason why they hate the book is that knowing what occurred during industrialization compared to the US right now is mind boggling. The market was freer but people made less and more people were poor than today but less people were serfs or slaves as it was before. Somebody who grew up in the late 1700s and 1800s would have thought capitalism was the only way to go since no other countries or systems had ever had better economic systems. Today, we do know that there are better ways to manage an economy and very few people want a totally unregulated economy.
Read the book, it's worth your time. It's easy to read, it informs you about what the world used to be like economically speaking and it offers you critiques that the corporately owned media will never talk about. You'll enjoy this book if you like economics and politics.