Balancing History Books; Professor Offers Politically Incorrect Side of Story

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 16, 2004 | Go to article overview

Balancing History Books; Professor Offers Politically Incorrect Side of Story


Byline: Amy Doolittle, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

They're called "revolutionaries," but the Founding Fathers were actually conservative. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to ship 1 million Russian prisoners of war back to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who imprisoned or killed them. President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" only made poverty worse.

Those are a few of the inconvenient facts professor Thomas E. Woods Jr. explains in "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History." Written as a teaching supplement to counterbalance revisionist history texts, Mr. Woods' book has turned into a surprise bestseller, soaring to No. 2 on the Amazon.com list last week after he appeared on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" program.

The following excerpts are from a recent telephone interview with Mr. Woods, who teaches history at Suffolk County Community College in New York:

Question:What prompted you to write this book?

Answer: I teach history at the college level, and I'm always faced with the question of which textbook I'm going to use. Other conservative teachers across the country are faced with the same problem - which liberal-leaning book [or] least-bad book are we going to use? I decided I would write something that is not a standard line text but is something that can be a supplement to a textbook. It's not bogged down to the traditional left-wing philosophy; it's a fresh perspective on American history. My students, who will be reading it next semester, will be walking away with a more thorough understanding of history than their counterparts across the country.

Q: It appears to be popular with more than just history students and teachers. Why is this type of history attractive to Americans?

A: It occurred to me that there would be a lot of Americans who would be interested in this, who are worried that they didn't get the whole story [of history]. ... I think [the subject] just struck a chord with people. It really hit a nerve.

Q: During the writing of the book, did you uncover any politically incorrect history that you had not recognized before?

A: There isn't a whole lot of it that when I went into it shocked me. The book could only be a certain length, so I didn't really have to go out and seek a lot of things out - most of it was written off the top of my head. Because I teach this day in and day out, it is permanently engraved in my head. So [I was] able to just sit down and think about what types of lectures I give in my classrooms. I just translated that into book form.

Q: What historical facts in the book do you think will most surprise your readers?

A: I think a lot of people will be surprised by the claim that Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not get us out of the Depression with New Deal programs. …

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