Marcia at the website What Would the Founders Think kindly invited me to participate in a Q&A following positive reviews she wrote of American Betrayal and then The Rebuttal (here and here).
I enjoyed our conversation, which covers much ground.
Here is an excerpt.
Marcia: The drubbing you have been taking has been targeted on your more colorful statements in American Betrayal. The worst howls seem to be directed at statements taken literally that were not intended that way, or were journalistic devices. Nevertheless, people seized upon them whom, I suspect, knew better. I thought your antagonists used them to draw attention from what they could not refute and did not want to discuss. All of which is a long way around to asking if you had it to do again would you moderate your language?
Diana: The short answer is no. I think you got it right when you said that these sorts of attacks were designed “to draw attention from what they could not refute and did not want to discuss.”
But this is a good moment to discuss the book’s style a little further. As you indicated earlier, American Betrayal tells a kind of “hidden history” that will come as a great shock to most readers because it departs so radically from the “court history” we have all been taught. It certainly came as a great shock to me — to use the word “world-rocking” is not hyperbole. My entire outlook was forever changed by this research, one horrifying revelation after another.
One of the concepts I develop at some length in the book is how the lack of historical context renders the single, odd shocking event almost incomprehensible. Take Operation Keelhaul, the forced quite violent repatriation by British and US troops of at least two million Soviet-claimed persons who in Soviet hands would be shot or sent to the slave-labor camps of the Gulag. The story of how the Allies ended World War II participating in what surely counts as a war crime, not to mention the slave labor trade, doesn’t appear in our standard textbooks and histories and biographies about the era, so its appalling details have to compete with our entrenched notions of the so-called Good War and its noble leaders. How could Gen. Eisenhower, Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, even Churchill and others have permitted and indeed enabled such a massive crime to happen — even as the Nuremberg Trials were underway?
Marcia: I am confused, did you mean this? FDR died before this happened, didn’t he?
Diana: Actually, the program spanned 1944-1947. M. Stanton Evans and the late Herbert Romerstein devote a chapter of their excellent 2012 book Stalin’s Secret Agents To Operation Keelhaul, reporting on its emergence in US proposals under the hand of Soviet agent and Treasury official Harry Dexter White in the summer of 1944.
Without context, the very notion that British and US troops participated in forcibly handing over millions of anti-Communists who had made their way West during the war – in some cases, Russians who had never even lived as Soviet citizens – is extremely difficult to accept and absorb. But, as as I develop in American Betrayal, there is a long and also unknown chain of real events that led to to this moral and strategic cataclysm (and it wasn’t the last). This was the accruing context I had to present to make such near-fantastic betrayals comprehensible.
The way I decided to manage this was simply to present this difficult, world-rocking material just as I encountered it, uncovered step by uncovered step, often featuring the truth-teller who tried, futilely, to bear witness, to forestall disaster, to enter reality into the record. This makes the book a first-person and highly subjective narrative, replicating my own discovery of these hidden cataclysms, and, I think, quite natural outrage. As I approached and came to understand things, then, so, too, does the reader. As a first-person narrative, American Betrayal never pretends to be a conventional history. I think we have been utterly failed by our conventional historians. I am a journalist, and I see these horrific, conventional-wisdom-changing revelations as “breaking history,” and think it is important that we “read all about it.”
One of my favorite comments about the book came from best-selling novelist Brad Thor who wrote: “If you haven’t read Diana West’s American Betrayal yet, you’re missing out on a terrific, real-life thriller.” The book is written as best I can in my long-honed voice to be readable — not to “pass muster” with conventional historians who missed the story of the century.
The full interview is here.