Book Review: How We Forgot The Cold War

How We Forgot The Cold War:  A Historical Journey Across America, by Jon Wiener

The way this author goes on about progressives and insults the conservative view of the Cold War, which he oversimplifies and mischaracterizes, he should be called John Whiner.  Having been familiar with this work, I was aware of the author’s worldview, which brings discredit to any authority he cites (including the New York Times and WaPo [1]).  One thing to understand about this work is that many people reading this, if they can get through the nearly 300 pages of fake leftist history, is that they will probably hope the author gets cancer or becomes sterile from all the radiation he experiences in traveling to various cold war monuments, many of which are related to dubious atomic projects and seek to reassure the public of their safety.  An example of the bogus worldview of the author is the way that his perspective triangulates between leftists (fellow travelers like himself), liberals, and conservatives, which apparently is anyone remotely right of center–moderates are barely even mentioned in this account.  When one’s view is as far left as the John Birch Society is right, it is hard to have any useful political insights, and this book predictably suffers as a result of the author’s whining over the cruel fate dished to the Hollywood 10 who refused to snitch on their fellow reds, and deserved a far more serious fate than they received.

The book consists of the author’s tour around the country, roughly organized in a chronological fashion, with one exception, in that the author begins by positing a straw man argument for the other side and ends with various progressive sites, slanting the argument in his favor.  The book is divided into five parts, looking at two sites that deal with the end–the Reagan Library and the abortive Victims of Communism museum, then goes back to sites connected to the beginning of the Cold War, the 1950’s, the 1960’s and after, and “alternative approaches” that include Rocky Flats, a leftist CNN Cold War retrospective, and the Harry Truman museum.  The author is such a cheerleader for his own view that it is impossible to take the writing seriously, given the fact that the author never fails to misrepresent the view of the American people concerning the Cold War and booster for his own particular bogus worldview.

Indeed, the most important insight, and perhaps the only worthwhile aspect of this book, is the way that the author unintentionally reveals the mystery he searched for in vain across America.  There are at least two reasons why Americans have largely forgotten the Cold War and have not viewed it with the same triumphalist spirit as the Civil War and World War II have been viewed.  For one, the United States has not tended to celebrate either wars that are draws (War of 1812, World War I, Korea) or America’s “small wars” of counterinsurgency.  Related to this is the fact that once the Cold War was largely won on the large scale, it became a war of counterinsurgency between the forces of the Left like the author and patriotic Americans like those who elected our current president.  As that war is not over by a long shot, it is likely that any such triumphalist feelings on the part of Americans will require a decisive victory in the larger cultural war, which would likely require the reduction of influence of leftist professors and other public employees on efforts of culture and education.  That fight remains to be won, and as the author does not desire to look outside of his own echo chamber of bureaucrats and leftists, it is unlikely he will ever find anything worthwhile in America concerning any subject matter.  He who does not seek will never find.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, History, Military History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: How We Forgot The Cold War

  1. Pingback: Book Review: What Does Europe Want? | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: One Star Reviews | Edge Induced Cohesion

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