Our Little Brown Brothers

The History Book Club has done us a good service by reprinting Leon Wolff’s Little Brown Brother, published originally in 1960, before we had learned to be politically correct or had figured out that we were building an empire.  In fact, in 1960, most of us had not realized that our foreign policy had been taken over by the ideology of liberal internationalism, or what Max Boot now wants to call “Conservative Internationalism.”

How long ago was 1960?  John F. Kennedy was accusing Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower of being so soft on commies that they had allowed a “missile gap” to develop.  Some voters actually believed him.  One wishes that Kennedy had read Mr. Wolff’s little classic instead of Michael Harrington’s The Other America or the manual of empire produced by the Rockefeller brothers, Prospect for America.

Little Brown Brother is remarkable for winning the Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians—while failing to contain a single footnote!  The Introduction to the new edition, written by Paul A. Kramer of Johns Hopkins University, does have footnotes and criticizes Mr. Wolff for their absence.  One might suspect that both Mr. Kramer and the History Book Club have other than good intentions in resurrecting this fine old volume.  In fact, Mr. Kramer calls it a “crude” book. ...

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