on October 2, 2010
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.
on October 21, 2010
Professor Kengor's latest scholarly, thoroughly documented work, based upon recently released Soviet archives and FBI files, provides powerful evidence of how a number of American liberals directly contributed to the advancement of world-wide Communism - doubtless history's deadliest ideology, ultimately claiming more than 100 million lives. For some, that contribution was deliberately made - with the hope that Soviet communism would eventually overtake the west. For others, it resulted from an astonishing naivete, along with a willingness to ignore clear evidence, sometimes observed with their own eyes. These latter accomplices are the "dupes" of the title - leftists used by the Soviets and other communists to spread their deadly ideology to the west.
Professor Kengor shows how some, but by no means all, of these "dupes" eventually came around to see - if not outright reject - the destructiveness and danger of the Soviet menace, iconic academics like John Dewey among them. Interestingly, Kengor puts to rest some of the right's recent misgivings about Woodrow Wilson - no dupe he - and shows Wilson to have been a strongly committed anti-communist long before others realized the extent of the threat the west faced once Lenin seized Russian power.
Importantly, Kengor's research makes clear that the Soviet Union's world-wide ambitions during the cold war were every bit as real, powerful and extensive as the anti-communists of the period had claimed - and that the anti-anti-communists were, at best, misguided, irresponsible and blind to what was going on all around them.
Finally, as evidenced by some of the more disturbing passages, this book is not merely some exploration of ancient history. Rather, as Professor Kengor starkly illustrates, "dupery" of the left continues to the present day.
As with all of Professor Kengor's books, Dupes is well written, thoroughly researched and thought-provoking. Moreover, he has, with this book, performed a great historical and public service - helping us to better understand the threat we still face as a nation, as our leaders choose to let their ideology, rather than the overwhelming evidence laid out clearly before them, guide their foreign policy decision-making. One can only hope that our current leaders read, and heed, the lessons of this book.
Dupes is highly recommended.
on November 4, 2010
This is not the first book to examine the itellectual development of the left(Mona Charen's "Useful Idiots" and Paul Hollander's "Political Pilgrims", also Flynn and Sowell). Books like this are important for two reasons. First, so called progressives have inflicted gargantuan costs in pursuit of their idealistic visions. The loss of prosperity and lives in the past is tragic, but irreversible. These costs are, of course, is water under the bridge- a sunk cost. Second, and more importantly, too many people have failed to learn from the past failure of 20th century utopianism. We are living with the legacy of past ideological-political influences. The Soviet Union is gone, but its influence persists in the minds of self-described progressives.
There are a few surprises in this book, especially where Woodrow Wilson is concerned. Not every "progressive" was a dupe! Some of the most telling parts reveal the CPUSA for what it really was.
Kengor deserves credit for continuing the historical investigation of Soviet influence on the beliefs and actions of some Americans. Critics will accuse him of bias in his interpretations of the facts, but there is still plenty of interesting history in this book. Read it and decide for yourself.
on November 19, 2010
According to Paul Kengor's new book, the most horrible crimes perpetrated against human beings were not because of wars but because of the most terrible ideology,namely: Communism. The Crusades' and Inquisitions' number of victims pale in comparison to the greatest killer of history. Suffice it to say that only in Communist China more than 60 million people paid with their lives during the times of the greatest butcher known in history,aka Chairman Mao.
Starting with the Bolshevik Revolution through the Cold War and right up to the present,Kengor shows to what extent Americans have been duped by America's most dangerous opponents,thus demolishing the myth about how the Left bought many axioms which were considered to be the ultimate truth.
There are many exmples given and superbly analyzed about the various dupes,among them the advisors of FDR,the Vietnam generation radicals,movie actors and other intellectuals,writers,historians and many other public figures.The duping of Americans is still going on even during theses times.
The book is extremely well-researched by a brave historian and has many photos of the documents examined-here for the first time-and should serve as a warning for both camps,the Left and the Right,about the way the adversaries of America have succeeded-and still continue-in manipulating the brains of those who are naive enough to believe lies. It is a riveting story and one cannot afford to miss it at all.
This volume should be in anyone's library under the section of: excellent and outstanding histories!!
on November 7, 2010
Dr. Kengor, through much fact sifting, proves why he is an authority on communist era history. From before the cold war up to now, he relates the use of "dupes" through the liberal progressive movement to advance the communist agenda in the United States. Dr. Kengor writes in an understandable style, and walks you through his points like he is instructing one of his classes.
on July 12, 2011
Although I was already aware of a lot of material in this book (see Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society, for earlier revelations), still, reading "Dupes" was an avalanche of new information, all of it from primary sources, and all of it painstakingly described so that you could be sure what (a) the author know for sure (b) what the author strongly suspected, and (c) what documents he used to make up his mind. The only problem with this book is that it may give you a sick headache, especially as you try to understand how someone like Dr. Spock could have made such a gigantic fool of himself --- how he could have disgraced himself, and never even noticed who was leading him around by the nose.
Even worse: the USSR may be gone, but the game of duping is not over, not by any means. Now the game is being carried out by radical Islamic jihadis, who are busily duping hundreds of innocent people into believing that the problem in the Middle East is Israel, not Palestine, and that Islam, despite all appearances to the contrary, is a "religion of peace." Code Pink and that gang fell for it hook, line, and sinker, and they're trying to recruit other useful idiots to "the cause," whatever they imagine that might be. ("Up with sexual slavery?" "Three cheers for female genital mutilation?" "Support your local polygamist?")
Not only that, but some of the absolute worst from the Vietnam Era, fine folks like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, are not only still around, holding tenured positions at once-eminent universities, they even have the ear of the current President of the United States. And they still think that they were RIGHT in throwing bombs.
As I say, it may give you a sick headache to realize just how stupid people can be.
This book is required reading for people on the left, who will undoubtedly ignore it and say "McCarthyism!" If only they knew...that Communism world-wide has produced a pile of corpses estimated at 100 million, or even 140 million. How can we wrap our minds around such a number? Well, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 left 3,000 dead. Communism, on a daily basis, has been killing over 5,000 people a day for 70 years. That's not a typo. Let's be conservative and say: "4,000 or 5,000 people killed PER DAY over a period of seventy years."
So much for those alleged "good intentions."
on July 1, 2011
If you love this genre, you're going to love this book. It is an absolute must-have, from an academic standpoint. It made it into my holy trinity of Communism which includes Richard Pipes' Communism and Whittaker Chambers (with the Black Book of Communism being a runner-up).
But it is not your stereotypical communist-bashing book. From a political standpoint, you'll love it if you're a conservative, take issue with some things if you're neoconservative, be ok with half of it if you're a centrist/liberal, and be outraged if you're a Leftist.
First off, Kengor has done an amazing amount of research to produce this book. It is almost solid documented fact--an entire storytelling of Communism in America after 1910. In other words, if you're trying to take notes on what happened, the book IS the notes! I started trying to underline/highlight important points, and I was highlighting entire paragraphs and pages. So then I switched to highlighting just things I had not heard before, details, and I ended up highlighting not much less. Settle for just reading the book slowly to absorb all the information.
Kengor has access to sources that not every prior book on Communism has had, and he does a great job of photcopying primary sources where he can, including recent KGB declassified documents, and archived original flyers that were hung in town squares. My favorite is a "hit list" by Lenin, of American professors that he was targeting for persuasion.
But what makes the book brilliant, as I am sure others have already said here, is Kengor's entire premise of "Dupes" which is that the far Left is not as big as it seems... but it grows as fellow travelers or dupes are persuaded into defending their talking points. It is about the silent but hostile and intentional takeover of classic liberalism. Other authors have mentioned this point in discussing the spread of communism, but this book is catalog of who and how. In this way, it is a niche book that adds something to the genre so far unprecedented. And his icon of a "dupe" is still a choice mechanism of the Far Left today, which he spends about the last quarter of the book explaining.
Kengor goes through the entire Who's Who of Communism in America and does a great job of disspelling popular myths about who really was in league with Communism intentionally, versus unintentionally, and how much. He notes details, details about each historical personae, whether Democrat or Republican, and where they were sympathizing with Communist talking points from the USSR, and who they were listening to to get their sympathies. He is candid in his speech but not polemical. He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt who was not actually a card-carrying member. It is not about Communists hiding under every rock and bush. It is about how Communists as a small minority won over the hearts of well-intentioned liberals time and time again.
So the book comes across as a Reagan-esque critique--you will like it whether you are a Reagan Democrat or Reagan Republican. It documents the real threat to America in the 1900s, as well as the perceived threat. It covers popular icons today such as Arthur Miller, Frank Marshall Davis, and Joe McCarthy as well as historical ones in JFK, Wilson, Taft, and FDR. Throughout, Kengor distinguishes differences rather than lumps everyone in the same bucket.
Near the end the book will disturb Obama voters, as it confirms his Marxist mentorship, but Kengor is no idealogue. He is not trying to conservatize his readers or bash Democrats--on the contrary, he is very sympathetic towards Reagan Democrats and classic liberals and seems to be hoping that they will come back into the public square stronger so that true Leftism which has been co-opting mainstream liberalism for over a century can be routed out.
This book will provide meat for conversation for many months after reading. Let the discussions begin!
on March 29, 2011
Man. This book is a Two Roll Duct Tape read. Every page is so full of dupery, useful idiots, stupidity and purposeful duplicity, that you will have to put it down and walk around the room (or the block) to cool off. Almost starting on the date of the Bolshevik Revolution, the communists were working the socialists in the United States. Some were useful idiots, a term invented by Lenin, some were just dupes of their own stupidity. Starting with (it seems the most socialist university in the world) Columbia University in New York, many of the professors gravitated towards the communist ideology and help start the socialists parties here in the states. The Communists Party USA was nearly started on the day after the revolution and is still in existence to this day. It fortified its membership ranks from all walks of life in the 30's and 40's primarily from the iteligensia and the Ivory Towers of our universities. Among the most attached groups the CPUSA gravitated to was Hollywood, primarily its writers who went out of their way to place the socialist doctrine into the movies at that time. Slow forward to the present time and our current president and his merry bunch of socialists who cut their teeth in the 60's and infiltrated our universities with their socialist teachings. Among those 60's leaders were William Ayers and his wife Bernadette. They are shown in this book to be much more important to Obama that previously known, at least by this reader.
Dupes transcends the history of the 20th century into this century. The dupery that continues to this day, not by the USSR but by the CP USA. The socialist struggle will continue for these dupes for probably as long as man will be on earth. That will require a third roll of duct tape.
on March 16, 2011
Dr. Paul Kengor of Grove City College, has written the best book on the Cold War to date. As a former top secret linguist, and as a student of the era, I was mesmerized by the book, and not only found that I resonated with his observations, but was stunned, at points, by his revelations. Dr. Kengor's insights come from deep, thorough, first rate scholarship. His findings, which came, indeed, as "revelations," to me, are built on undeniable findings from interviews with Cold War participants, but also from records previously unavailable. This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down, which also points to the fact that it is, just plain and simple, a good read. I recommend it highly and call it a "Milton Must Read" to my Twitter and Facebook followers.
on February 15, 2013
Paul Kengor, along with his follow-up book, "Communist", on Obama's mentor Frank Marshal Davis, a card-carrying member of the communist party, painstakingly lays out with evidence how the Soviets arrived here in Chicago shortly after 1920 and hoodwinked the leading educators of America. Though he later opposed them, famed educator John Dewey was so taken in by his Potemkin Village experience that his writings and methods became the basis by which our children are still indoctrinated.
FDR was a major dupe and called Stalin "The most righteous man who attended Malta". He called him "Uncle Joe" in his Fireside Chats and refused to acknowledge the evidence of the Katyn Forrest Massacre ordered by Stalin of over 20,000 Polish Officers and prisoners. I can't remember if Kengor states FDR said to light a candle for "Uncle Joe" or if his chats might as well have said that, as FDR sold America on communism being not all that bad an ideal.
But FDR was nothing compared to Jimmy Carter who said he was glad we could move forward and stop the hysteria over communism. When he got the call that he had been lied to, that detente was a lie, and that the Soviets were in Afghanistan, he had to admit he was wrong and duped. That's the same Carter, who kisses Breznev on the cover, said 2 years ago that we had nothing to fear from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Kengor also points out how as head of the Screen Actor's Guild, Ronald Reagan (no dope by a very long shot) exposed what the communists were doing in Hollywood. Sterling Hayden said of a debate at Ida Lupino's home with top stars, "Reagan coolly showed up and took over and ground me into a pulp. He dominated the whole thing. He was very vocal and clear-thinking". Hayden had been "duped", as Reagan was for a brief time, by the communists. And Hayden had been a US Marine working in the OSS with Wild Bill Donavan! See how easyoly one can be duped by those who tell you only what you want to hear? Even Humphrey Bogart, and Jimmy Cagney to a degree, was a sympathizer until his eyes were open at hearings in DC that this was not free speech they were talking about; this was the communists here as spies throughout schools, Hollywood, media, and administrations. And guess what....they won! The mess called America today is due, IMO, to the duping of progressives and the election of one Barack Hussein Obama - who Kengor points out to be a Che believer and communist sympathizer extraordinaire!
Worth the price of admission is just how anti-American Obama's mentor was (he wanted Hawaii to join the Soviet states and reject US Statehood) as well as how William Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, wanted to destroy this nation. And they chose Obama to come into politics at his first fundraiser in their Chicago Home. Ayers is not in jail for life due to a procedural mishap. He should be tried again. But did Ayers like what Obama was doing? Or was he selected because coming from a background, by his own words, of seeking out the Marxist professors, was Obama called upon because he shared Ayer's ideals? After all, they tried to hide that they worked together for years, did they not? Perhaps the Rev. Wright's media coverage was a masterful play to keep on the covers so the Ayers issue was buried. But then again the media is leftist and owned by the democrat party and if Kengor found it, a cub reporter like Jimmy Olsen could have if he wanted to in the age of the Internet. As Kengor points out, they hate anti-communists more than communists, for they have been indoctrinated to believe many tenets of communism are great ideals. Could part of that be from the communists trying to get Hollywood screenwriters to put just 5 minutes into every film that tugged at America's moral fiber, as Kengor reports was a plan of theirs?
And to the Vietnam Vets out there, you'll be interested to know that John Kerry could never produce one witness even when immunity was offered, and that some of his comments were said to be verbatim to those being printed by the Soviets against America in the Eastern Bloc nations.
Yes, this is a worthy book. It will not disappoint. If you are a patriot you will be very mad indeed. If you are a progressive/liberal/neo-communist/Marxist/Che-lover then you will hate this book and this review as all false religions die hard.