5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth--Finally!
Haynes and Klehr tell a story that few acknowledge and it concerns the fetish that many of our professiorial anti-elite have towards the Soviet Union. These academics lie and minimize, and follow it up with indoctrinating those youth who are unfortunate enough to take their classes at the university. They recognize that a solid study of communism and the USSR would...
Published on July 14 2004 by Bernard Chapin
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Haynes and Klehr's own goal on historical research.
This book, with its tendentious title, purports to be an evaluation of current standards of historical scholarship. In this it scores an own goal, for its own standards of objectivity, contextualisation, and accuracy leave much to be desired (details are available from me on request). The authors' most egregious fault is their tendency to dismiss anyone who differs from...
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by R. J. Sandilands
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth--Finally!,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)Haynes and Klehr tell a story that few acknowledge and it concerns the fetish that many of our professiorial anti-elite have towards the Soviet Union. These academics lie and minimize, and follow it up with indoctrinating those youth who are unfortunate enough to take their classes at the university. They recognize that a solid study of communism and the USSR would result students being eternally grateful that they live in the west as opposed to elsewhere. This may be precisely the reason that radicals distort and relativize objective history. Kudos to Klehr and Haynes for producing this valuable work. Incidentally, some of you may recognize a section that is quite familiar concerning the way the left manufacted the phrase "Premature Antifacists." It was supposedly stamped on the army files of those who served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain after they then enlisted in the American army during WW II. It's a nice tale but that's exactly what it is. This ruse was merely a way to demean our military. The chapter originally appeared in a 2002 article in The New Criterion and it is an engaging page turner. In Denial is worth every penny.
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Did They Do It? Why Are They Still Defended?,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)Surprise, surprise. The release of the Venona decryptions--showing that Alger Hiss was indeed a Soviet agent, the American Communist Party was indeed a tool of Stalin, and the martyrs of McCarthyism were indeed traitors to America and Western civilization--seems to have been received with less than open arms in academia. No one should be shocked. The revisionist mindset in history departments these days is set in concrete, and it'll take more than mere proof to disabuse these progressive fossils of their sentimental attachment to the Vanguard Generation of the 1930s-1950s. Or, more charitably, such revelations as Venona should be expected to signal the beginning of a debate, not the end.
This book isn't really for the lay reader. The authors minutely examine scholarly arguments against Venona, or arguments that attempt to "of course" it aside. The refutations they deploy sound convincing to me. The authors don't fight entirely fair. They excoriate one revisionist author for mixing up the principals in one case, but confess to a similar error of their own in an endnote. Throughout, the psychic indigestion of the revisionists is on display, as they try to salvage the reputations of their heroes. They do so either by rejecting or distorting the evidence, or falling back into the "higher truth" position, in which spying for Stalin against America was just another form of action for social justice.
One bit of Venona controversy that seems to have fallen silent is the case of leftist gadfly journalist I. F. Stone, who does not appear in this book. Apparently no case from the Venona decrypts can be made to back up Herbert Romerstein's accusation that Stone was a Soviet agent of influence for a while. Instead, Stone appears to have rejected monetary offers from his would-be handlers, so far as Venona reveals. To be fair, Haynes and Klehr weren't the ones who made that accusation in the first place.
The retired NKVD assassin Pavel Sudoplatov makes a cameo appearance. The authors really should have put a caution flag next to his name, as the most explosive allegations from his book have never been proven. But there he is, invoked to bolster the case against the Rosenbergs (which didn't really need bolstering, at this late date).
A sad bit of history is presented in an appendix. It is a list of names of mostly Baltic immigrants to America, who moved to the Soviet Union, were arrested and executed, and buried by the KGB. Their names and bodies were recovered by Memorial, the Russian organization that searches for secret mass graves in Russia. The bitter consequences of deluded idealism...
The fraudulent aura of progressivism that Stalinism had for so many Americans is still a mystery. How a dream of a better world led these people to betray the most just country in history to the most oppressive country in history defies easy explanation. Ignorance is no excuse, as the bloody nature of Soviet communism was well reported in the West almost from the Soviet Union's inception. (If they couldn't believe Stalin's own ex-secretary, Boris Bazhanov, who would they have believed?) Although leftist compilers of standard reference works are reported here to be distorting the Venona evidence, one can only hope for its lessons to start seeping into the curriculum, as well as the broader culture. It can't happen a decade too soon.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opening Book,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)I write about the history of American space policy and strategic reconnaissance and one of the things I strive to do is dig into archives and find newly available sources to further our understanding of events. So I was interested in this book because one of the themes is how some historians of American communism and labor are actually _not_ interested in newly available information because it threatens their worldview. I find it amazing that historians are not trying to get as much of this information as possible.
But there were other amazing aspects of this book. I was aware of people who long denied the brutality of communism. There are certainly many people in academia right now who still write glowing commentaries on Fidel Castro, for instance. But I was not aware that there are current tenured professors of history who write glowingly of Joseph Stalin. Some of the quotes in this book from these people are jaw-dropping (some of them have been reproduced in other reviews on this website). I think that Haynes and Klehr are right to note that it is amazing not only that these people exist, but that some of them hold (or held) prominent positions in academia. They are correct in noting that Holocaust-deniers and Nazi-sympathizers are rare and regularly suppressed by the historian community whereas people who hold equally repugnant views about communism are often held in high esteem by their colleagues.
I attended the Venona conference that they mention, and have read some of their previous works. I am also somewhat familiar with the academic study of the Hiss and Rosenberg cases, where some individuals insisted for decades of their absolute innocence, but are now shown to be massively wrong. As recently as a few months ago the New York Times printed a mopey article that complained that the real travesty was not that the Rosenbergs ran a spy ring that provided the Soviet Union with vital secrets, but that they were executed in a show trial.
But I must fault Haynes and Klehr somewhat on their misuse of the terms "traditionalists" and "revisionists." They admittedly create these terms as shorthand for the groups they are discussing, but this introduces problems to the discussion, because these terms already have their own meanings within the historical community. And they aren't really accurate anyway. History that is properly done is by definition revisionist, for it attempts to revise our understanding of events. And Haynes and Klehr in many ways are seeking to revise the previously popular view of subjects such as the Communist Party of the USA with new sources and sophisticated interpretation. So doesn't that make them "revisionists" as well?
But this is only a small criticism. This is a fascinating book.
5.0 out of 5 stars In Denial: Historians, Communism, & Espionage,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)Neatly dividing academic historians of American communism into two camps of "traditionalists" and "revisionists," the authors proceed to tar all of the "revisionists" with the same brush. Partly writing in response to the reception accorded their earlier works and , they task the "revisionists" for deceptive historical scholarship when it comes to all things communist and anticommunist in American life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of the corruption of historians,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)As a person studying to be an historian this book was a breath of fresh air. It was also very disturbing, that so many historians have defended, explicitly, Stalin, Lenin, and so on. Their point is well taken, historians who apologized for Hitler would be laughed out of the profession, but those who apologize and downplay the crimes of the Soviet Union and the murderous and amoral ideology of communism (which any objective review will tell you is hardly distinguishable from fascism) are hailed as respectable historians. Hopefully, this work and others will help towards laughing those "historians" who ignore the facts to promote communism and all of its watered down welfare statism variants out of the field.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalin's apologists in academia exposed,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)The statement made in the Publisher's Weekly review that "this uncompromising manifesto" compares Left-wing historians' sympathy for American Communism to Holocaust denial is not entirely accurate. While much of the book does focus on the blindness of academia to facts about the American Communist Party being a subversive tool of the Kremlin and revelations from the Soviet archives about the extent of Soviet espionage in America (Leftists often attempt to deflect the issue with red herrings about "McCarthyism." Just check out the negative reviews), what Haynes and Klehr do compare to Holocaust denial is the continued whitewashing of Stalinism by radical left-wing revisionists such as J. Arch Getty, Robert W. Thurston, Gabriel Kolko, Theodore Von Laue, Fredric Jameson, Barbara Foley, Grover Furr and others. Actually, they are probably worse than holocaust deniers because their defense and/or denial of Stalinist mass murder largely go unchallenged, unlike Holocaust revisionism. And, as the book says: "The number of apologists for the former Soviet Union and its mass murders dwarfs the handful of aberrant pro-Nazi academics in America." (pg 13) Do you think this is an exaggeration?
Von Laue defends Lenin, Stalin and the totalitarian murder machine they created: "How then are we to judge Stalin? Viewed in the full historical context Stalin appears as one of the most impressive figures of the twentieth century." "Regard for individual life was a necessary sacrifice in Lenin's ambition to enhance life in the future." "The specific design of Soviet totalitarianism has perhaps not been sufficiently appreciated. However brutal, it was a remarkable human achievement despite its flaws." (pg 24-26) This apologist for mass murder is a "professor" and one of the authors of a much used history book.
Kolko, another revisionist whose books were widely assigned as college texts, whitewashes the brutal mass slaughter of thousands of helpless prisoners at Katyn stating "Whoever destroyed the officers at Katyn had taken a step toward implementing a social revolution in Poland." He also states that "Katyn was the exception" in Soviet behavior and "its relative importance....must be downgraded very considerably." (pg 21)
Thurston, a "professor" at Miami University of Ohio, claims that Stalin "was not guilty of first degree murder from 1934-1941 and did not plan or carry out a systematic campaign to crush the nation." (pg 24)
Furr, an *English* professor at Montclair State University, praised the blood-drenched Communist revolutions in Russia and China: "The greatest historical events in the twentieth century - in fact, in all of human history - have been the overthrow of capitalism and establishment of societies run by and for the working class in the two great communist revolutions in Russia and China." (pg 27)
Can one honestly say that these examples don't compare to Holocaust revisionists and their whitewashing of Hitler? These apologists for tyranny and deniers of genocide should be just as reviled as David Irving and his ilk, and should not be accepted in American higher education.
I addition to this book I'd recommend "A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia" by Alexander Yakovlev, an excellent work of history that tells the truth about the criminal nature of Lenin, Stalin and the USSR.
5.0 out of 5 stars Academia unveiled,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)This book is a great follow on to their work on the Venona project. As someone who has seen my kids suffer in many classes at their universities by challenging the nonsense that is spouted by tenured leftists, this book would be a wonderful gift to any student who is going to be subjected to the propaganda called "higher education" at many of our leading schools. "In Denial" is more than an expose' however, since it shows that taxpayers are wasting billions of dollars in tax-supported schools where students are not educated about the evils of Communism, but just the reverse, where academic revisionists now try to rewrite history to their liking instead of dealing with the facts of Communist infiltration into American and Western society while Stalin put more people to death than Hitler.
This book will be totally ignored by the media who have been trained well to speak nothing but good about the true evils of Communism and its followers in academia today.
5.0 out of 5 stars Negative Reviewers STILL can't face the facts...,
By A Customer
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)...and the facts are that the CP's own records clearly show the depth of treason and espionage these apologists try and ignore.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Apt Title,
By A Customer
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)After reading the comments from the reader from New Haven, it becomes clear why this book's title is a perfect fit.
5.0 out of 5 stars Heynes and Klehr are right on,
This review is from: In Denial: Historians, Commun (Hardcover)Heynes and Klehr finally expose the lies that academia has been feeding to its students for years. A superb read for anyone who wants to know the truth about communism in this country and in the world.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
In Denial: Historians, Commun by Encounter Books (Hardcover - Aug. 1 2009)
Used & New from: CDN$ 5.22