It is somewhat ironic that Dr. Thomas Woods recently released How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, as its celebration of Christianity may well make it as unpopular among the intelligentsia as is The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. The latter is a directed tour of our nation's forbidden history, and the title alone guarantees that it will never be found in any liberal arts syllabi. I finished reading it yesterday and am somewhat surprised to admit just how much it has to offer. In fact, I am now thoroughly bewildered as to the extent in which it was vilified by the mainstream media.
Ordinarily, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the derisive observations of The New York Times, but The Weekly Standard is a journal that I respect, and Max Boot’s review was far from favorable. Therefore, I assumed that Dr. Woods may have "gone over the edge" in this narrative, but am happy to report that this book cannot simply be dismissed with the word "polemic" I admit that I do not agree with all of the narrator's arguments and opinions; however, the little known facts, quotations, and accounts added much to my aggregate knowledge of America. For this reason, the book's value cannot be denied.
Despite the appearance of General Longstreet on the cover, this is no hagiographic remembrance of the Confederacy or a convoluted attack on the political left, it is an attempt to color historical events which for too long have been seen only in achromatic terms. Contrary to the opinion of other reviewers, I do not believe that this work in any way can be dismissed as a polemic as Dr. Woods does not attempt to turn his readers into a throng of embittered anti-American activists.
The ideas he shares are rare and necessary. Through both the body of the text and in the inclusion of small boxes and sidebars, the narrator identifies primary sources and allows their voices to refute contemporary assessments on their own. Items like "What Our Founders Said, What a President Said or What Our Allies Said" enable the words of the great men to resonate. Dr. Woods also provides "PC Today" subsections that highlight the moronity of conventional wisdom (sic) regarding American history. Further, the "A Book You're Not Supposed to Read" recommendations are quite serviceable for those of us not immersed in the historiography of America. These little formatting aspects enhance the readability of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and heighten its pleasure.
Most of these pages are a factual rejoinder to the dogma that proliferates around us. Was Franklin Delano Roosevelt the hero that most of our citizens believe him to be? The admiration that Roosevelt and his administration maintain seems fantastic given the anti-achievements of his economic record. The New Deal merely consolidated and expanded the shadow socialism practiced by Herbert Hoover. Indeed, when one closely evaluates FDR's programs and initiatives, he appears to be no more than an overly muscular, power-obsessed version of the president who preceded him. In short, that Brahmin was no Messiah. The New Deal made a mockery out of helping the poor as it subsidized the slaughtering of pigs and the destruction of grain in the hopes of boosting commodity prices while tens of thousands went to bed hungry as a result. The actions of the federal government made the depression of the 1930s a Great Depression.
What of Walter Duranty and the useful idiots who apologized continuously for Stalin as the General Secretary starved millions of people in the Ukraine and conducted a reign of terror that would have made Robespierre nauseous? The famous New York Times reporter did not seem to be capable of telling the truth about the Soviet Union. He was a full-fledged propagandist for the regime and the gray lady will never publicly condemn his actions.
Perhaps the most politically incorrect fact of all is that Joseph McCarthy was far more correct about the reality of the 1940s and 1950s than are many of the professors who instruct students about the period today. Senator McCarthy was rude, drunk, and self-promoting, but the Venona Documents proved that our government was riddled with communist operatives. This reality has not daunted our liberal aristocracy as they still obsess over the naming of names. In the final analysis, it seems that not nearly enough were mouthed fifty years ago. Venona has definitively proven that Communist Party USA was propped up by the Soviets solely for the purposes of espionage, and it is absurd to now pretend that communist affiliation did not increase the likelihood of one being a traitor.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History has the type of bountiful yield that would make one of FDR's A.A.A. bureaucrats want to start up a tractor for the purposes of mowing it under. I have no doubt that the reader, much like this reviewer, will discover useful facts and quotations within every chapter. Certainly, with it being only 246 pages, it is not a definitive tome but it definitely is a start. Hopefully more scholars will come forth and reclaim our factual history while forcefully arguing that telling the truth is not merely one form of historical narrative or perspective. It is THE only perspective. We need more Dr. Woods's to battle the Foners and Schreckers who corrupt the nation's youth These charlatans have cut and pasted our historical record into a montage in which only slavery and oppression can be viewed. We must undo their foul editing and let the brilliance of our centuries radiate.
June 7, 2005