Customer Review

233 of 256 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive history of an important American character, October 2, 2010
This review is from: Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century (Hardcover)
Paul Kengor, an established historian and tireless researcher, has produced an amazing historical tale of one of America's most important actors in the last century: the dupe. Though the title may sound inflamatory, the research is rock-solid and of the highest academic caliber. Both sides of the political ailse can pick up this book learn an incredible amount of American history.

Communism did not know any national boundaries in the 20th century; nor does radical Islamic ideology in the 21st. As such, Dr. Kengor recognizes the overarching effect of "the dupe" across party lines in America. There was not one cookie-cutter type of dupe as Kengor relates in the book. There were those who were duped for ideological reasons, political reasons, and even those who recognized they were being used - yet persisted in their actions. Kengor's point is that people need to seriously re-examine history in light of the revelations in this book about how some of the most important people in American history have acted towards America's enemies and how, in return, America's enemies have used them.

I can't emphasize how impressed I was when I looked at the endnotes of this book. Students of history will appreciate the fact that nearly all of the sources used in this book are primary! A rare find for an academic book these days! The author gives everyone, those who will agree and disagree with him, the chance to look at publicly available sources and draw their own conclusions. As a result, I could hardly disagree with any of his conclusions. I have studied this period of history extensively and was genuinely shocked by some of the revelations in this book (the ones about Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, and America's early Progressives come immediately to mind).

It is a sad commentary on the state of the American education system when facts like these are not taught, not out of some grand-conspiracy, but out of simple ignorance. Many people do not know of the Katyn Forest Massacre, the Soviet invasion of Poland in WWII, the effects of Soviet spies, etc. Thankfully though, we now have this book to shed some much needed light on this corner of American history that has long been ignored and repressed: The Dupe.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 4, 2010 10:16:42 AM PDT
STABERDEARTH says:
I am positively taken in by the use of primary sources to support this book's content. That is usually a bedrock sign of factualness as long as he uses a large sampling of sources from all angles. I'll be buying in my next Amazon order load up.

Keep in mind people, Hillary Clinton is on the record as DIRECTLY stating that SHE IS A PROGRESSIVE. That is not hearsay, not out of context, not fabricated, not unfair propaganda by her political enemies. Your best weapon is to arm yourself with what a progressive really is.

Posted on Dec 13, 2010 11:04:56 AM PST
Thank you for your thougtfully written review which is very helpful. Also, the writer may be seen in an hour long presentation of this book which is extremely engaging on C-Span Book TV.

Posted on Jul 29, 2012 5:36:17 AM PDT
I recently watched a rerun on C-Span3 of Professor Kengor's appearance in 2010 before The Heritage Foundation to discuss this very book. I bought it soon after, but not because of his talk at that body. Dr. Kengor's presentation was so suck-up in tone I barely endured the 75 minutes which included a suck-up Q&A, too.

I have read his book on Christianity's impact on Ronald Reagan's life and politics, and it was excellent read. Great thing with reading his books, you don't have to put up with the audible smarminess.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 9:49:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 25, 2014 4:27:19 PM PDT
albarino says:
Despite his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, Kengor has an aversion to publishing his "research" with credible academic presses (the University of Pennsylvania) or respectable mainstream presses, e.g. Harper Collins.

The publisher of "Dupes" is ISI, a right wing enterprise with a pronounced conservative agenda and is typically obsessed with Marxism and leftism as continuing "threats." Reminder: the Soviet Union collapsed more than 20 years ago. As for Communism in the US, it was never a major factor in US politics, despite what this book claims. Communism in the US became a non-factor by 1960. Kengor, a reactionary Catholic, who still feels a threat from communism and "leftism" in general, continues to thump his tub as a warning some 50 years later.

What motivated "Dupes?" Not dispassionate historical interest, I can assure you. Kengor starts with the pre-conceived notion that progressives and liberals are easily duped into sympathizing with totalitarian regimes ... and will betray the US, even today. This is a favorite meme of the far right wing. Thereafter, in "Dupes" his research only corresponds to that agenda. Anything that might contradict it or show a more complex picture is left out. While this book may offer some insight into select Cold War issues, the author's fervent, anachronistic anti-communist agenda colors his scholarship.

For example, Kengor promises to show "how John Kerry's accusations that American soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam MAY have been the product of Soviet disinformation." MAY? Much of Kengor's "research" uses speculative framing of the issues he discusses to IMPLY but NOT prove his pre-conceived fixation that liberals and progressives betray their country or circulate misinformation damaging to US interests. While serving, Kerry and a number of Viet Nam theatre GIs either observed or learned of violations of the Geneva Conventions by American forces. Indeed, Kerry and other anti-war Viet Nam veterans were vindicated by information compiled by the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group Files, a collection of (formerly secret) documents compiled by Pentagon investigators in the early 1970s, confirming that atrocities by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War were more extensive than had been officially acknowledged. The documents are housed by the United States National Archives and Records Administration, and detail **320** alleged incidents that were SUBSTANTIATED by United States Army investigators. And these did not include the notorious 1968 My Lai Massacre. Would Kengor have us believe that these official investigators also were "dupes"?

So who likes "Dupes?" It is of course endorsed by Cold War-ista conservatives, but virtually no one else. An internet search shows no mainstream press or academic journal reviews of Kengor's book which tells you that serious political scientists and historians see "Dupes" as the biased and agenda-ized outlier it is. And where else does Kengor show his face? None other than the paranoid conspiracist and V-E-R-Y far right wing website World Net Daily which hosts wackos like the pseudo-scholar Jerome Corsi.

For further discussion of Kengor's agenda-ized pseudo-scholarship, I refer readers to my 1-star review of another of Kengor's books, "The Communist." It was published by none other than the disgraced paranoid conspiracist Glenn Beck -- he, the former radio shock-jock with a high school education and previous alcohol and cocaine addictions. By their company you shall know them.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 12:38:13 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 15, 2012 12:20:07 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2012 7:52:21 AM PST
Lee Hart says:
If someone is Christian and conservative, they are more likely to see the soviet influence in our society. It has been within the u.s. for a long time and is the backbone of the 1960s radical movements. Its proponents who dominate the foundations, universities, media and bureaucratic class have been successful in making many if not most Americans "think" a certain way. The hegelian dialect is winning sadly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 12:17:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 12:24:06 PM PST
albarino says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2013 10:11:53 AM PST
A. Kowski says:
The Progressive elitists such as yourself are as quick to dismiss a Communist threat as you claim the Christian/conservatives to be in grasping on to the idea. It is disingenuous to point out one and not the other. It is also disingenuous to dismiss the very real possibility that the "national context" of which you spoke could have been greatly influenced by Communist thought via the people who got involved in the movements and pushed agendas within them. There is ample evidence that once Communists realized they were not ever going to achieve a Russian-style revolution in America, they turned to a subversive, longer-term plan to achieve their goals. You cannot dismiss such things simply because it is inconvenient to your own agenda (which is apparent by your frequent and pervasive comments here on Amazon to the reviews of books on this topic, as I have found this morning while looking for my next book to read).

Believe it or not, albarino, concern for "growing power of large corporations and their influence in the political arena" is not exclusive to "liberalism and progressivism"... there are staid conservatives and libertarians who are also rightfully concerned about the cronyism between politics and the large corporations in the U.S. today. The difference between the two groups is that the latter also recognizes the threat of the growing power and influence of government - not just in the [not-so] free market, but in the daily lives of the citizenry as well.

Similar to the comment of yours that I responded to under one of the reviews for "And Reality Be Damned... Undoing America: What media didn't tell you about the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism in Europe.", where your ad hominum attack amounted to equating gun ownership to being anti-intellectual, here you are pushing the equally overused and tiresome ad hominum attack that equates non-progressivism with the same. What exactly gets accomplished by this rhetoric? Using such tactics does nothing but perpetuate the split in this country, and its accompanying lack of honest discussion based on something more than soundbites that are fed to us in the media. Those type of remarks make the progressive camp cheer, and the conservative side moan, while the people in the middle generally respond by tuning out completely. You are nothing more than a tool of the partisan politicians, pushing their agenda of Divide and Conquer. The question is, are you paid for it?

The only way to find some semblance of the truth on any given topic that has wandered into the political sphere in this country is to SEEK a wide variety of information, from an even wider variety of sources (including politically-diverse authors and experts, since no one can completely set aside their personal bias in such work) and follow up on their work by digging into their own sources of information and deciding for yourself what passes muster. "Serious" (as used in the last line of albarino's comment above) does NOT equate to "liberal" or "progressive", even if that's what he/she wouldd like to believe, any more than "expert" means that someone is immune or free from bias, manipulation or agenda. What a true shame that ANYONE in this country would dismiss what someone who has spent considerable time and effort on in research and production, simply because they disagree with that person's politics. And how despicable that one group can so easily and thoughtlessly label another group of people as stupid or willfully ignorant for merely disagreeing with them on whatever topics they choose. Shame on you for doing so, albarino, whether you are paid or not.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013 9:35:59 PM PST
albarino says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2014 3:49:34 AM PDT
Adam says:
"Ample Evidence? Well, then you need to cite it, which you didn't."

albarino, if you'd read any of these books you flit around like a pixie in a Victorian garden giving one star reviews to you would have your evidence. That's kind of the whole point of all the time and effort that goes into an actual book rather than an internet forum comment.
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