As reported here last night, Diana West has written a three-part rebuttal of Ronald Radosh’s review of her book American Betrayal. The first part was published yesterday at Breitbart. Part Two will be published either later tonight or tomorrow, and will also appear at Breitbart.
Below is a summary of the rebuttal written by Ms. West for Gates of Vienna.
Rebuttal: The Summary
By Diana West
What happens when calumnious charges appear against oneself and one’s new book, and an acid-hot controversy ensues? I have been told that I should thank my detractors for elevating my profile. Wise counsel told to me leave no rock or pebble unturned in rebuttal.
And so I haven’t.
Those charges against my book, American Betrayal, first appeared in a 7,000-word review at Frontpage Magazine. In response, I have completed a rebuttal of some 22,000 words; it is running this weekend in three parts at Breitbart.com.
The review — better described by its author, Ronald Radosh, as a “take-down” — sprouted a series of copycat pieces at Pajamas Media, The American Thinker, NRO and elsewhere.
Radosh himself wrote four more pieces about my book.
Frontpage Magazine editor and “free speech” activist David Horowitz (who pulled a positive, first review of American Betrayal off the Frontpage website) has now published three attacks himself. He went so far as to write: “She should not have written this book.”
When does anyone ever say that?
More amazing than anything, though, is that none of the people joining in this continuing two-minute-hate actually seemed to have read my book (two people admitted this in print). That might even include the reviewer Radosh.
In Radosh’s introduction alone — where cognates of “conspiracy” repeat ten times and “McCarthy” five — I identify and refute more than 20 falsehoods about myself and my book. (This is in Part One.) I have to wonder: Did he read the book? In Parts Two and Three, I lay out several Radosh modes of attack which repeat throughout the rest of the review, which is divided into five sections. I thoroughly dissect each section, highlighting literally dozens of erroneous charges:
- Claims that are not in my book, and thus the oddest type of mistake or fabrication;
- Distortions of what is in my book; and
- Non-sequiturs that Radosh regards as “gotcha” moments but are indeed irrelevant to my book’s actual contents.
Along the way, I deal with all manner of personal smears that impugn my credibility as a writer by falsely charging that I consistently mishandle and even abuse evidence.
Indeed, after having to fend off these unjustified and unjustifiable attacks on my credibility, I found this recent public statement by David Horowitz of particular interest: “Well-designed attacks on an opponent’s credibility can overpower well-crafted messages.”
For readers who think 20,000-plus words sounds like more than they have time for — believe me, I understand — below are a few examples of what I am talking about.
The Review Pattern
|1)||Call American Betrayal a conspiracy theory — repeatedly. Over and over again, Radosh describes my book as conspiracy theory. For example, he writes: “the conspiracy that West conjures…” “West’s conspiracy case…” “the heart of her conspiracy theory…”
|2)||Exaggerate a fact as stated in American Betrayal and attack the exaggeration. For example, in American Betrayal, I examine the impact of Soviet agents of “influence” of the US policy-making chain. Radosh continually caricatures my careful discussions of “influence” into his own cartoon of “Soviet control,” or the “Soviet-controlled American government.”
Another example: I discuss documented shipments of three-quarters of a ton of uranium to the USSR during WWII. Radosh exaggerates this uranium into “the crucial material for the Atomic Bomb” for Stalin and then criticizes me for “[failing] to understand the nature of the unrefined uranium the Soviets actually received.” I never claim the Soviets received refined uranium. In other words, I am being criticized for something that is not in my book.
|3)||Protect the conventional (read: liberal) narrative. Time and again, Radosh condemns me for not bowing to the conventional (read: liberal) narrative. What do I mean by conventional narrative? Histories that purport to tell the story of the 1930s, World War II and the Cold War without (or barely) considering or even acknowledging the influence that scores, even hundreds of Soviet agents of influence had on the US policy- and war-making chain. That describes just about every history book out there. Particularly after the post-USSR release of many KGB cables documenting the activities of American spies and agents of Soviet influence, this makes for historiography that is, to say the least, drastically incomplete. It also describes every book held up by Radosh as The Word.
Here’s how he does it. First, he summarizes, book-report-style, some conventional history book, whether the contents have to do with those of my book, or not. Then he labels the conventional narrative “definitive” or the conventional historian “pre-eminent.” Then he labels my arguments — which he has exaggerated, distorted or entirely invented — “conspiracy theory.” To make the false charges stick, he omit mention of my copious sources as listed in 944 endnotes. These notes reference a bibliography of Congressional investigations, State Department records, histories, memoirs, letters, newspapers, essays by Solzhenitsyn, Conquest, Koestler, Orwell, etc., that I have used to draw my non-conventional conclusions. He never mentions any of this, since it becomes impossible to acknowledge such sources and make any charges that I am a purveyor of “yellow journalism conspiracy theories” stick.
|4)||Another Radosh pattern is to imagine or invent anecdotes, even large thematic arguments, that are not in my book. This deserves a category of its own.
Things That Are Not In My Book
|1)||Radosh titles one section of his review, “The Issue of the Second Front.” At roughly 1,800 words, this section makes up 20 percent of his review. Get ready for this: The “second front” argument he criticizes me for making is not in my book. This, of course, invalidates a series of charges related to the Radish-invented argument that is not in my book. It also makes writing a rebuttal a surreal experience.|
|2)||Radosh claims American Betrayal depicts Churchill as a “Soviet dupe.” This is not in my book — nor does Radosh offer any supporting evidence that it is.|
|3)||Radosh claims I argued for “an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin.” This is not in my book, either.
Then there are:
Things Radosh Says Should Be In My Book — And Are!
|1)||He claims I ignore the book In Denial by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. In fact, I cite this book four times.|
|2)||He claims I ignore FDR’s cables to Stalin demanding access to our ex-POWs in Soviet-held territory. In fact, I write extensively about this exchange drawing from the actual cable traffic.|
|3)||Radosh actually implies that I plagiarized another book for my chapter about the German Underground. Not only is the charge outrageous, it is also impossible. In fact, the book in question covers the facts of the German Underground in about two sentences. My German chapter runs15,000 words and has 78 endnotes.
Another instance in which Radosh exaggerates a fact in American Betrayal and attacks the exaggeration: Regarding a 1998 academic paper that matched FDR’s top aide Harry Hopkins with the code-name “19” in a KGB cable, Radosh writes: “The identification of Hopkins as Agent 19 is the linchpin of West’s conspiracy case.” (There he goes again, repeating the word “conspiracy.”)
“The linchpin”? In fact, my discussion of this paper identifying Hopkins as “19” is limited to two pages of American Betrayal, which is a 403-page book! Harry Hopkins is mentioned on 107 pages. So much for “linchpin.”
Worst of all, though, Radosh calls all of my book’s arguments “groundless.”
It is a fact that there are 944-plus endnotes in American Betrayal, so it is inconceivable that my arguments could be characterized as “groundless.”
In fact, the only thing “groundless” here is Radosh’s review. But don’t take my word for it. Read my full rebuttal.
Even better, read American Betrayal and judge it for yourself.
Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West: