This is a non-threatening 246-page large-format paperback. In fact, what I missed most was footnotes, since it’s always helpful to be able to say, “Oh yeah, go read this!” to the mincing statist who can otherwise be counted on to simper, “That can’t be true; who says?”
But admittedly, comprehensive footnoting would probably have added 50 percent to the size of this book, which does have a good bibliography, and the purpose of which is clearly to serve as a brief, irreverent, non-threatening “first inoculation” against the statist guff still being peddled in government-school history classes -- sort of like Keanu Reeves being fed the red pill in the original “Matrix” movie (the good one).
Probably the best acknowledgement of professor Woods’ (Ph.D. Columbia) accuracy, though, is the fact that while he’s been roundly attacked for this book in “mainstream” media such as The New York Times, the quibbling is always with his personal resume (generally called an “ad hominem” attack), specifically his membership in outfits which honor the freedom-fighters who resisted the War of Northern Aggression and so on -- rarely challenging the scholarship of the “alternative history” he reports.
No, the Puritans didn’t steal Indian lands, professor Woods reveals. Yes, the Founders stressed over and over again that gun ownership is an “individual right” -- and he correctly cites Stephen Halbrook’s definitive “That Every Man Be Armed” (I would now add Akhil Reed Amar’s “The Bill of Rights”), even if his own case is necessarily sketchy.
But it’s in the middle of this book, as professor Woods gets into the long-lived myths that Herbert Hoover allowed the Great Depression to get worse by “doing nothing” (in fact, he worked diligently to prop up wages, which multiplied unemployment), and that FDR then saved the nation through his own wise and well-thought-out socialist interventions, that the author really hits his stride.
His depiction of FDR railing against a Supreme Court decision to throw out his fascistic American Agriculture Administration as unconstitutional -- sneering “Are we going to take the hands of the federal government completely off any effort to adjust the growing of national crops, and go right straight back to the old principle that every farmer is a lord of his own farm and can do anything he wants, raise anything, any old time, in any quantity, and sell it any time he wants?” -- is chilling and begs for someone to ask not only precisely what a “national crop” is, and also what alternative principle this dime-store Mussolini would have preferred to substitute for the one he so viciously reviles.
FDR tells U.S. Ambassador to Russia William Bullitt that, “I think if I give (Joe Stalin) everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.”
Thus was half of Europe -- Poland, Czechoslovakia, the half that World War II was actually fought to set free -- turned over to the tender mercies of this mass murderer and his heirs for two whole generations, based on the dangerous conceits of an enfeebled nitwit who believed Stalin’s early (and aborted) seminary studies caused “something to enter into his nature of the way in which a Christian gentleman should behave.”
And after the war? Harry Truman actually apologized to Stalin for Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, offering him an invitation to come to America and deliver a rebuttal.
The ballyhooed Marshall Plan, still celebrated in our government schools as the source of the European economic recovery of the late 1940s? Professor Woods reveals that it was as counterproductive as any other tax-funded government handout scheme. The Marshall handouts -- which propped up tyrannical regimes and required the recipient kleptocrats to divert scarce capital from their struggling private economies to make “matching” government expenditures on useless boondoggles -- actually retarded recovery in Britain and Greece.
No wonder the simpering statists hate this modest little volume.
For readers in the sensitive 11-15 age group, in the past I would have recommended Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and “Farnham’s Freehold,” followed by L. Neil Smith’s “Pallas” and “The Probability Broach” (the latter now also available as a quite good graphic novel -- i.e., comic book on steroids -- from Bighead Press, $19.95.)
Now let us add to that lineup “Out of the Gray Zone,” by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman (RebelFire Press, P.O. Box 270014, Hartford, WI 53027; $17.95 postpaid), the tale of a near-future American kid who decides to stop taking his mind-numbing government-mandated “meds” and escape from his high school/internment camp in “The Zone,” searching for a way to rid himself of the wrist ID chip that allows the central state to track everything he does.
Co-author Zelman runs Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a fine outfit. But I will attribute the patient craftsmanship and pacing of this little paean to the revolutionary who lies sleeping beneath the calm facades of (hopefully) enough remaining American HaPiMed drones to leading author Wolfe, who brought us “101 Things to Do Till the Revolution” (now reissued as “The Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook”) and the sequel, “Don’t Shoot the bastards (Yet.)”
Ms. Wolfe understands the surveillance/therapeutic state, and is properly appalled by it. 1-877-REBEL-01; www.rebelfirerock.com.