USEFUL IDIOTS: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First

Mona Charen, Author . Regnery $27.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-89526-139-7

Syndicated columnist and CNN commentator Charen offers a moral indictment of those public figures—politicians, entertainers and professors—who, she says, stubbornly refused to see communism for what it was: a brutal, dictatorial death machine. Throughout the Cold War, some public figures and activists cheered the Communist movement and berated America for its capitalist ways. Famous actors traveled to Cuba to smoke a cigar with their favorite dictator; posters of Che Guevara, Castro's military leader, adorned college dorms during the '60s; the Soviet Union was praised and defended for its social progress. Charen particularly singles out the media as having played a significant role in distributing tendentious if not false accounts of world events. One example tells of Katie Couric's visit to Cuba in 1992. Upon her return, according to Charen, Couric raved about Cuba's "terrific health-care system," but uttered not a word about the men and women detained in Cuban prisons. The author highlights the kind of historical revisionism and self-hatred that marked some of America's most noted public figures and warns that the lessons learned from communism are just as relevant today. The tragedy of September 11, Charen says, has produced a cadre of left-leaning pundits who wasted no time in blaming America for the violence perpetrated by terrorism. Charen is operating as a polemicist here, and some readers will object to her tarring all liberals with the same brush. But there is a strong market for conservative polemics today, and many readers will cheer Charen on. (Mar. 1)

Reviewed on: 02/10/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 284 pages - 978-0-89526-201-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-06-057941-8
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