Most readers will be familiar with Vladimir Bukovsky, the respected writer and former Soviet dissident. In collaboration with Pavel Stroilov, he has written a review of Diana West’s book American Betrayal for Breitbart.
As listed at the foot of the review, here are the bios of the authors:
Vladimir Bukovsky is one of the founders of the Soviet dissident movement. He spent twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals during his fight for freedom. In 2007, he was nominated for president of Russia by the democratic opposition in moral protest of Putin’s powers. His many works include To Build a Castle and Judgement in Moscow.
Pavel Stroilov is a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations. He is co-author with Bukovsky of EUSSR: The Soviet Roots of European Integration, and the author of Behind the Desert Storm: A Secret Archive Stolen From the Kremlin that Sheds New Light on the Arab Revolutions in the Middle East.
So Messrs. Bukovsky and Stroilov have paid their dues as victims of communist oppression, Mr. Bukovsky through his time in the gulag. In their Breitbart piece the two men have done more than write a favorable review of the book: they have deconstructed the malicious ad hominem attacks on its author, and offered plausible explanations for the reprehensible behavior of people who otherwise seem sane and rational.
David Horowitz has already responded at FPM, saying: “Now, in the pages of Breitbart, even Vladimir Bukovsky, the great Soviet dissident, whose work we have previously admired in these pages, and will continue to admire, has joined [Diana West’s] wolf-pack.”
Well… I thought it was a “kook army”, but now it seems to be a “wolf-pack”, with Vladimir Bukovsky baring his fangs at the front of the ravening horde.
This is very strange, considering that Front Page Magazine has sung the praises of Mr. Bukovsky so many times in the past. Ten or twelve years ago, Jamie Glazov, Mr. Horowitz’ assistant, was particularly generous in his admiration of the courageous Soviet dissident.
But not any more. That was then, and this is now: I’m told that Messrs. Bukovsky and Stroilov first submitted their review to FPM, but Mr. Glazov turned it down. The authors’ opinions presumably failed to accord with the current party line laid down by the
politburo editorial staff at FPM.
Below are excerpts from their review, “Why Academics Hate Diana West”:
Groundbreaking books about the history of communism, such as Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago or Viktor Suvorov’s Ice-Breaker, are never written by “professional” historians. Indeed, historians typically meet those books with remarkable hostility.
Yet, non-academic history books certainly have their advantages. For one thing, they are readable. More often than not, they are better researched too. Above all, they are intellectually honest, free from the unspoken taboos of the academic world and from allegiances to theories and to colleagues that tie the hands of many an academic.
Where a professional historian pursues an academic career, the amateur seeks after the truth. Ignorant of taboos, the amateur can follow the trail of evidence to wherever it leads and discovers things which, according to the academic conventional wisdom, are best left untouched and unsaid.
That is what Diana West does in American Betrayal:The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character. By her own admission, she started that book with no intention of writing much about the Cold War. She started not as a historian, but a simple mortal puzzled and disturbed by the obvious question: how on earth could this great civilization of ours have degraded into such a hypocritical nonsense as political correctness? Having written her previous book about the death of the civilization of grown-ups, now Mrs. West, in her own words, attempts a post mortem — only to discover unmistakable signs of a murder.
She digs deeper, “tracing references and footnotes backward along a well-mapped historical route that has simply fallen into disuse”, as she puts it — and discovers the true history of the 20th century, the history of communist crimes against humanity, to which so many in the Western Establishment were accomplices and collaborators; and then a massive cover-up of those crimes, which infested our entire public life with a culture of hypocrisy and double standards.
In the face of those proven facts, most of them now recognized even by academics, Mrs. West asks some bold but legitimate questions. Did all these people (the glorious FDR administration) really conduct the Second World War in the interests of Western democracies, or was it in the interests of Comrade Stalin? Having declared that war to defend the freedom of Poland, the Western democracies ended it by surrendering Poland and a dozen other nations to a totalitarian empire worse than Hitler’s. Was that really a victory? Above all, was that outcome inevitable, or did it, to a greater or lesser extent, result from the work of the Soviet agents of influence in the positions of power in the West?
Mrs. West has proven her point without access to secret archives on the basis of published sources alone. She would have found this much more difficult if she tried to continue her narrative much beyond the Second World War. Scandalously, most secret archives of that period remain classified to this day, and very few historians ever complain about that. It required some extraordinary efforts on our part to smuggle some of those archives out of Russia and make them available to the Western public. Of course, our efforts were attacked furiously by the very same academics who now attack American Betrayal, using exactly the same expressions It is their job to suppress any truth about the Cold War. However, despite all their efforts, we now know that the so-called Cold War was never particularly cold on the Soviet side and never much of a war on the Western side: