“American Betrayal”… Where Have I Seen This Before????

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Andrew Sullivan has been commenting on new book by Diana West that portrays FDR and his administration as basically a bunch of Commie Pinkos. Here’s the blurb for “American Betrayal”:

If the Soviet penetration of Washington, D.C., was so wide and so deep that it functioned like an occupation …

If, as a result of that occupation, American statecraft became an extension of Soviet strategy …

If the people who caught on – investigators, politicians, defectors – and tried to warn the American public were demonized, ridiculed and destroyed for the good of that occupation and to further that strategy …

And if the truth was suppressed by an increasingly complicit Uncle Sam …

Would you feel betrayed?

Yawn… It’s been done… The book I mean.

Years ago, while I was digging into the histories of recessions and depressions in the US and abroad, Conservative friends all were raving about a new book on the Great Depression they said I just had to read! It was called “The Forgotten Man“. Well, I had recently read “The Lords Of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke The World“, a fantastic book about the haphazard management of the European economies during the 1920, which ultimately helped set up some of the conditions that would trigger the Great Depression, so I figured…. Why not!

I bought it. Read it….

Man! Was I disappointed. Unlike the previous books I had read, which gave detailed analysis of economic policies, actions taken, and their seen and unforeseen consequences, Amity Schlaes book was nothing more than a McCarthyish exercise designed to pain the entire FDR administration as Communist sympathizers.

Here is what I wrote at the time:

I’m reading “The Forgotten Man”. I’m on page 139. I can’t say how much more I will read or if I will finish the book. To say that I’m underwhelmed would be an understatement. It’s dull. I expected some real economic information about the underpinnings and policy decisions made in the twenties that set the stage for the depression, and how FDR’s actions helped or hurt the possibility of economic recovery, you know, policy A leads to B which causes C, that sort of thing. Yet all I’m getting is a continuous rambling about this person and so-and-so who would end up working in the Roosevelt government who had some misplaced admiration of socialism and or Stalin. If Mrs Shlaes is to be believed, it’s a virtual commie love-fest. The was she writes about this period, it is the socialist intellectuals who caused and perpetuated the great depression. Yet so much of the info presented feels like gossip and innuendo (there are such things as footnotes you know – see Ron Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton”). She’s almost McCarthyist in the zeal in which she names names. She has mentioned so many names that I can’t keep them all straight; they have become “Forgotten Men”. I will continue to read the book, but I can already say that you will get more useful information from the 40 or so pages devoted to this time period in the fun and concise “The Great Game” than from Mrs. Shlaes effort.

I did read the whole thing. It really wasn’t worth my time. I’m betting this new book isn’t either.

PS. A another good read on economic  / crash histories: The Panic Of 1907. I became interested in this subject when someone in a radio interview had said this near economic crash was triggered by the San Francisco Earthquake the year earlier. It’s a long explaination, but this book lays that out nicely. It also establishes exactly why the government created the Federal Reserve a few years later and why that was a neccessity.

3 Comments to ““American Betrayal”… Where Have I Seen This Before????”

  1. By Jeff Alberts, August 18, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    “If the Soviet penetration of Washington, D.C., was so wide and so deep that it functioned like an occupation …”

    I’m more upset about the abuse of a comma after D.C.

  2. By Sonicfrog, August 28, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

    Of course you are.

  3. By Jeff Alberts, September 7, 2013 @ 5:52 am

    A man’s gotta have his priorities. 😉

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