My buddy Diana eviscerates the three party tawdry series by Jeff Lipkes that dismisses her work ”American Betrayal”. Well done Diana, Lipkes and all the rest of your detractors can’t hold a candle to your logic and wit with a pen.
DEBATING ‘AMERICAN BETRAYAL’: THE AUTHOR RESPONDS
Author’s Note: This is my response to a recent three-part series by Jeff Lipkes devoted to my book American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character at American Thinker. It is an open letter to the writer.
This marks the second time in one year that American Thinker has refused to publish my own defense of my work as written.
Dear Jeff Lipkes,
When you asked me to answer questions for an article about American Betrayal and the attacks on the Right it has provoked, you told me: “I have a Ph.D. in history, but my interests are late 19th and early 20th c. British politics and culture, and, though I’ve taught courses on 20th c. Europe, have no expertise in the subject of your book.”
Not holding that Ph.D. in history against you, I, of course, agreed. Having been through the lengthy, three-part essay you have produced on the subject, however, I see once again that Drs. will be Drs. You tag the series “Diana and Ron” — Have you left no sense of decency??? (that’s a joke) — but a better title might have been “Another Ph.D. into the Breach to Avenge the Conventional Wisdom So Grievously Trespassed by “American Betrayal,” Alas.
That, of course, is the prerogative of the academic brotherhood (or siblinghood, if you’re one of those). After all, I have written a book that explores the 1930s and 1940s and beyond without including the conventional markers that make such excursions familiar before they begin. For example, American Betrayal, as you lament, fails to focus on Hitler, instead discussing him in relation to Stalin. And while American Betrayal reflects on what Stalin’s famine in the Ukraine, “normalization” of US-USSR relations, the Katyn Forest Massacre, etc., meant for Washington, you’re right, there is not a word about Kristallnacht. Nazi crime and Communist crime, meanwhile, are discussed together as I probe the origins of the double standard that condemned Nazism but whitewashed Communism — and which inspired the democracies to fight and revile bloody dictator Hitler, but embrace and apologize for bloody dictator Stalin. Maybe worst of all, I don’t quote a single British cabbie of the Blitz, one of whom you introduce from unsourced nowhere by way of vernacular reproach to re-assert the approved template. Readers (children), there was only one real enemy (besides Japan) in World War II, and that was Hitler’s Germany — or, to quote your taxi driver, “the bloody `un.”
I disagree. Veering completely outside the lines, my book explores the dirty intelligence war the Soviet dictatorship was waging against Britain and the US (covertly prosecuted in London and Washington by British and American traitors) all the while simultaneously fighting Hitler in military alliance with both democracies. I do recognize that this concept overwhelms the conventional template, conventional reactions, too. Your cabbie, for example, has a counterpart in American Betrayal in a British railway officer of the same period. On speaking with a passenger, returning British POW James Allan, a man broken by the torture and abuse he endured in the prisons of Our Great Soviet Ally, this railway officer was “obviously very reluctant to believe my story,” as Allan later wrote in his book No Citation. The source of this prevalent disbelief about facts of Soviet crime are much discussed in American Betrayal, even though admittedly this pushes the context of events far past “the bloody ‘un.”
Allan’s superiors believed his story (and his wounds), by the way. Allan received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross, for what he endured at the hands of his Soviet captors. So comprehensive was the Allied effort to whitewash “Uncle Joe” Stalin, however, that Allan’s medal came to him literally with “no citation” — no official write-up of his heroism — and he was prohibited from publishing the story of his captivity until two years after the war ended. Why? The answer — the question — is just not likely to be found in the lore we all “know.”
I guess what I’m saying, Jeff, is that I expected a tad more engagement from you with what I actually wrote. I note that you are critical of core arguments I advance in American Betrayal but that you neglect to offer readers any quoted inkling of how or what I actually wrote to make these arguments. That is quite a feat: a word here and there, but virtually no passages quoted from the book in a 12,000-word-essay about the book. I guess you didn’t have room.
I notice other omissions, too. In your opening list of American Betrayal‘s supporters and detractors, you “forgot” to include American Betrayal’s most famous supporter of all: Vladimir Bukovsky, co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement, and, later, storied explorer of Soviet archives, thousands of pages of which he personally copied and smuggled into the West. With Pavel Stroilov (a younger Russian student and smuggler of Soviet archives), Bukovsky has co-written not one but two essays in support of American Betrayal. These are: “Why Academics Hate Diana West” and “West’s `American Betrayal’ Will Make History.” Since Bukovsky spent 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals, it does make me wonder what someone has to do to get noticed.
Another omission: You fail to inform readers that there are nearly 1,000 endnotes in American Betrayal even as you strongly lament the absence of a “scholarly apparatus” (“bibliography” to us plebes). How come? While we’re addressing scholarli apparati and what real “historians are taught” to do, the name is “Spaatz,” not “Spatz”; the name is “Wedemeyer,” not “Wedermeyer”; Pavel Sudaplatov was not a defector; Eisenhower referenced the Aegean, not the Adriatic (more below); and you truncated George C. Marshall’s stunning 1957 quotation about his division of labor with Harry Hopkins on behalf of FDR. The correct quotation is: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”
Seeing how much the absence of a bibliography meant to you, I note also that you forget to mention, as I replied to a question, that my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, imposed space limitations that prevented me from including a bibliography in the first place!
Odd. But it does set a pattern of omission.