While I have been a libertarian anarchist for about two years now, I hadn't read any books on the subject until about a month and a half ago. In that time I first read David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom", then I read Gerard Casey's "Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State." I also read Gary Chartier's book "The Conscience of an Anarchist" and the first 250 pages of Murray Rothbard's "For a New Liberty."
Drawing from this experience I can say that Casey's book is quite different than the rest (in fact they are all quite different from one another). The back cover of "Libertarian Anarchy" says:
"Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security...."
Having just read Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom" I was expecting Casey's book to make more practical arguments for the position that the state is not necessary for the provision of peace and security than it actually did. The reality, however, is that most of the arguments in "Libertarian Anarchy" are principled libertarian arguments. Casey does makes various philosophical arguments that say that the state is not necessary. For example, in his discussion of law he argues that monopolistic states are not needed to provide law. But, he does not go into any in-depth discussions of the economics of the stateless provision of law, nor does he entertain any of the practical questions (such as, "But what about the roads?") that people often ask. This isn't necessarily a drawback of the book, but I'm mentioning it simply because I thought, judging by the statement on the back cover, that the book would have more practical arguments for a stateless society than it actually did.
Casey does a good job summarizing several historical examples of near-anarchist societies, most of which I had heard of but hadn't known as many details about. He provides a variety of reasons why we should accept libertarian principles in his chapter on libertarianism and the Non-Aggression Principle. I personally thought his chapter on Delegitimizing the State was one of the best in the book.
Casey cites many great libertarian theorists and other thinkers throughout "Libertarian Anarchy." He also, on occasion, cites people who he disagrees with and cites people who make non-libertarian anarchist arguments and other popular arguments against libertarianism and then explains why the arguments fail.
Some parts of the book were better written than others, but one of my only major criticisms of the book was that he seemingly randomly inserted a 4-page discussion on metaphysical libertarianism into the middle of his chapter on libertarianism the political philosophy (page 48-51). I am not a metaphysical libertarian myself and I think that the argument against determinism that Casey makes is false, but note that even if his argument was sound and even if I agreed with his position, it still remains that a discussion of metaphysics doesn't belong in his discussion on the political philosophy. They are both called "libertarianism" but are completely different subjects.
Overall, however, Professor Casey did a great job with the book. As a libertarian anarchist myself, I can't turn down the opportunity to recommend a book that begins with the observation that states are criminal organizations.
Here is the first paragraph of Gerard Casey's "Libertarian Anarchy":
"The criminal state
"States are criminal organizations. All states, not just the obviously totalitarian or repressive ones. The only possible exceptions to this sweeping claim are those mini-states that are, in effect, swollen bits of private property, such as the Vatican. I intend this statement to be understood literally and not as some form of rhetorical exaggeration. The argument is simple. Theft, robbery, kidnapping and murder are all crimes. Those who engage in such activities, whether on their own behalf or on behalf of others are, by definition, criminals. In taxing the people of a country, the state engages in an activity that is morally equivalent to theft or robbery; in putting some people in prison, especially those who are convicted of so-called victimless crimes or when it drafts people into the armed services, the state is guilty of kidnapping or false imprisonment; in engaging in wars that are other than purely defensive or, even if defensive, when the means of defence employed are disproportionate and indiscriminate, the state is guilty of manslaughter or murder."
For a video of Casey talking about his book, scroll to the bottom of the page at this URL (replacing "DOT" with "."):