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Truth Against the Grain

"Zeus gives no aid to liars."
—Homer

Richard Gid Powers' history is a powerful, even brilliant, piece of scholarship which documents one of the most bizarre political phenomena of the 20th century.

While Soviet communism, in its 70-year dictatorship, was probably guilty of every conceivable crime against humanity, it was yet able to escape the kind of principled censure which befell anticommunism. In fact, it is regarded as tasteless in academic circles even today to suggest that the United States won the Cold War. An "avant-garde" historian will say that the United States really lost the Cold War. An "objective" historian will say that nobody won the Cold War. An honest historian, like Professor Michael Howard, the distinguished Yale historian, in an essay in the Times Literary Supplement, wrote, "The Soviet Union lost." Even more, said Professor Howard, "the policy of the West has been ultimately vindicated, not only by our victory, but by the fact that the War remained Cold; and that we are alive to tell the tale."

President Roosevelt, a great war leader and a worse than inept peace leader, gets high marks from mainstream historians. However, President Harry Truman, who undertook to resist Soviet designs, is treated as a villain for supposedly beginning the Cold War. President Ronald Reagan,...

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