Monday, January 31, 2005

Racist Gets Book on NYT Best-seller List

Via Atrios, UNC law professor Eric L. Muller tears apart in Thomas E. Woods' "Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, " which is published by far-right Regnery company..

Regnery was the publisher of Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment," which, you'll recall, was an effort to demonstrate that everything most people know about one tragic episode in American history—the Japanese American internment—is leftist garbage.

Well, Woods' book is like Malkin's, except that its thesis is that everything most people know about all of American history is leftist garbage.

No small task, eh? And Dr. Woods does it in just 246 pages. With wide margins, no less!

I have read the book, which I think Jeffrey A. Tucker summarizes pretty well in his fawning "review" of the book:

[Woods] shows that the Constitution was never understood to be a permanent union, that big government caused the North-South conflict, that Alexander Hamilton's friends were racketeers, that the US didn't have to enter WW I, that Hoover was a big government conservative, that FDR made the Depression worse, that there really were Communists in government, that FDR made WW II inevitable, that the Marshall Plan was a flop, that the Civil Rights movement increased social conflict and made everyone worse off, that unions made workers poorer, that the 80s weren't really the decade of greed, that Clinton's wars were aggressive and avoidable, and that his personal issues were a major distraction from the real problems of the 1990s.

Well, now that I think of it, this summary actually does omit a few things—the kindliness and magnanimity of Puritan settlers toward American Indians, the true conservatism of the American Revolution, the lawfulness of Southern secession, the North's responsibility for the post-Civil-War "black codes" in the South, the illegality of the 14th Amendment, the fact that the provisions of the Bill of Rights don't actually apply to the states, and some other stuff. Lots of other stuff, actually. The book basically stitches together every moment in American history that might conceivably be given a free-market, states'-rights spin and any piece of scholarship that might be used (or misused) to support it, adds to it more than a sprinkling of Democrat-hero-bashing, and seasons the mix with a defense of the white majority against suspicions of racial cruelty or oppression.

The book recently stood at #17 on the New York Times Bestseller List (although a piece in the NY Times the other day reported that it had moved as high as #8). Adulatory appearances on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC show, Fox News's Hannity and Colmes, and a variety of talk radio shows have undoubtedly helped the book up the charts. The book is said to be selling like hotcakes on college campuses, where its eye-catching format and its 9th-grade-level prose are undoubtedly appealing.

Thomas, as Muller demonstrates, is an activist in the neo-confederate. racist, anti-democratic League of the South.

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