When I teach my PhD course in the Austrian Theory of the Market Process I assign four required books that in my opinion students must master to make a contribution to the this literature --- Mises, Human Action; Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order; Kirzner, Competition and Entrepreneurship; and Rothbard, Man, Economy and State. I have written before about how Rothbard's vision has guided much of my own research and teaching career despite what others may believe, here and here.
But in stressing the captivating aspects of Rothbard's vision of a free society, I run the risk of giving the impression that I discount the analytical contributions that he made to economics in Man, Economy and State.* An important point to stress is that at the time of its publication, Rothbard's book represented the state of the art in what Henry Hazlitt called "orthodox economics". The young Rothbard had read and absorbed not only the teachings of the classical economists and the writers in the Austrian tradition, but was completely aware of all the developments in property rights economics, law and economics, public choice, Chicago economics, and of course he was deeply knowledgable of his intellectual opponents from Marxist, to Institutionalist, to Georgists, and of course Keynesianism. The footnotes in Man, Economy and State demand very careful study to get a full sense of the amazing range of Rothbard's learning as an economist and social philosopher. The first 66 pages of the book might still be the most straightforward discussion of the economic way of thinking one can find anywhere. And, of course, there are great discussions of price formation (as opposed to determination), production and entrepreneurship, competition and monopoly, money and the business cycle, and public economics and political economy.
My copies of Human Action; Man, Economy and State; and The Wealth of Nations are held together with masking tape and various efforts at rebinding for a reason. The Road to Serfdom, The Constitution of Liberty, and Individualism and Economic Order are pretty worn, but nothing like the condition of those other 3 books. Only Don Lavoie's National Economic Planning is the other book on my shelves that is in that same condition due to continuous reading and consulting over the years. Graduate students who do not devote themselves to serious study of Man, Economy and State, will do themselves a great disservice in their economic education, perhaps one they will never be able to recover from and thus they will be lesser economists as a result.
*Chris Coyne and I attempt to highlight Rothbard's contributions to the economic analysis of socialism in theory and in practice here. In writing that paper, again the amazing and awe inspiring fact was how much Rothbard had mastered in the literature on comparative economic systems, and also how he anticipated subsequent developments in the field in the 1960s-1980s.