Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Historical bunk for the Blut und Boden set 

I'm sure the wowsers at Newsweek will love it and locate a nice warm slot on the shelf for it. Right next to their copy of The Bell Curve.

The Difference Between Politically Incorrect and Historically Wrong
By Adam Cohen - Published: January 26, 2005

If you're going to call a book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History," readers will expect some serious carrying on about race, and Thomas Woods Jr. does not disappoint. He fulminates against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, best known for forcing restaurants and bus stations in the Jim Crow South to integrate, and against Brown v. Board of Education. And he offers up some curious views on the Civil War - or "the War of Northern Aggression," a name he calls "much more accurate."

The introduction bills the book as an effort to "set the record straight," but it is actually an attempt to push the record far to the right. More than a history, it is a checklist of arch-conservative talking points. The New Deal public works programs that helped millions survive the Depression were a "disaster," and Social Security "damaged the economy." The Marshall Plan, which lifted up devastated European nations after World War II, was a "failed giveaway program." And the long-discredited theory of "nullification," which held that states could suspend federal laws, "isn't as crazy as it sounds."

It is tempting to dismiss the book as fringe scholarship, not worth worrying about, but the numbers say otherwise. It is being snapped up on college campuses and, helped along by plugs from Fox News and other conservative media, it recently soared to No. 8 on the New York Times paperback best-seller list. It is part of a boomlet in far-right attacks on mainstream history that includes books like Jim Powell's "FDR's Folly," which argues that Franklin Roosevelt made the Depression worse, and Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment," a warm look back on the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. ~ New York Times (registration not required).

So where would one expect reactionary revisionist crank like this to come from? Well, where else but --- Regnery Publishing:
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
by Thomas E. Woods Jr. | Regnery Publishing, Inc.; Paperback - 256 pages (December 2004) ~ stinky link

Something calling itself the California Literary Review (established in 2004 by someone called Paul Comstock) laps it up; and Wood pats himself on the back:
The praise for the book in conservative and libertarian circles, though, has been so gratifying that I’m frankly unconcerned about the left’s reply. On the year-end McLaughlin Group, I was beyond thrilled to see Pat Buchanan name me the most original thinker of 2004. It’s also appealed to a wider range of conservatives than I expected: Gary Bauer, for instance, included it in his top five books of 2004. ~ link

Pat Buchanan and Gary Bauer eh? Gee, I can hardly wait for Sam Francis to weigh in with a snappy roman salute.


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