When Professor Thomas E. Woods [pictured] penned his Politically Incorrect Guide to American History he may have also written one of the most accurate textbooks available today. For one thing, he writes about the victims of communism, a subject few academics care to visit.
“By 1921, the Soviet Union had 70,000 people in concentration camps,” Dr. Woods told the students gathered at the annual Eagle Forum College Summit on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. The Eagle Forum is a group founded by the legendary conservative writer, attorney and activist Phyllis Schlafly.
The tally of concentration camp victims of the then-four-year-old communist regime known as the Soviet Union would soon be eclipsed by the carnage wrought by Joseph Stalin. As many as 5 million died in the forced famine in the Ukraine in the 1930s.
Stalin, the second dictator who ruled the Soviet Union, starved the peasant farmers because they would not go along with his forced collectivization of agriculture. Woods pointed out that although the New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union then, Walter Duranty, publicly called the famine stories “bunk,” privately he admitted that the death toll in the Ukraine could be as high as seven to ten million.
Future leaders of the Soviet Union never got over their infatuation with collective farms. And academics turned a blind eye to their tragic results. “By the 1980s, the 2 percent of the farmland [in the former Soviet Union] that was allowed to be private was producing one-third of the crops,” Dr. Woods told the college students at the Eagle Forum conference in the Cannon House Office Building last week.
The reaction of the professoriat to President Ronald Reagan’s victory in the Cold War with the Soviet Union has been as myopic as their treatment of the evils of communism. Most academics view President Reagan as a Neanderthal.
Dr. Woods provides a more realistic assessment of the two-term chief executive. “What other adjective could you use to describe the Soviet Union than evil?,” Dr. Woods asks rhetorically in reference to President Reagan’s famous characterization of the former Soviet Union as the “evil empire.”
Dr. Woods teaches history at Suffolk Community College which is affiliated with the State University of New York. The reaction of the academic establishment to Dr. Woods’ Guide, although less than sanguine, pales in comparison to the criticism he has received from the so-called mainstream media. The former might be rooted in envy while the latter could be based on denial.
“In one year, Houghton-Mifflin [the textbook publishers] produced 3,400 books of which only 200 had decent sales,” Dr. Woods observed.
Ironically, neither the verdict of the jury of his peers nor the negative reviews have hurt his sales. “The day that the New York Times review [blasting the book] appeared, my Amazon rating shot way up,” Dr. Woods reported, “a tribute to the good sense of the American people.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.