Roosevelt’s Road to Russia, by George N. Crocker

July 25, 2010 at 17:40 (Book Reviews, Highly Rated Books, Historical, Second World War) (, , , , , )

8/10

This book can best be likened to a lynch mob howling and screaming unintelligibly, each laying hands on the prisoner at the centre and pulling this way and that, and trying rather fruitlessly to string him up. To an observer, it might be fairly plain that the subject of the mob’s fury deserves something, but such is the utter bedlam and torrent of emotion, it ends up being as clear as mud what exactly the problem is.

In a clear case of some extremely brave revisionism, Crocker sets out to pillory his nation’s longest serving and beloved former president. He is merciless, and reserves some choice epithets to use against Roosevelt. Not once does he excuse him or even bring himself to admit that Roosevelt might have done a single thing right. Quite simply, he is rabid.

The book’s publication date of 1959 might serve to explain partly this unbridled vitriol. So too might the barrage of venom reserved for the only man Crocker hates more than Roosevelt, the “hard shell…Tartar whose flinty eyes hinted the Mongolian admixture in his blood, this tyrant…” – none other than “Joe Stalin” (as Crocker chooses to spitefully call him). It is difficult to gain the unequivocal impression that an author is literally spitting a name from pursed lips whenever he mentions it. Crocker gives that impression amply.

Why is this a good book? It is certainly a piece of Cold War propaganda, whose sole aim is to blacken the name of Roosevelt as the sole antagonist (working, of course, with communist spies!) whose folly, mealymouthedness and – dare we say? – outright treason singlehandedly spawned the genesis of global communism. Despite these manifold failings as an unbiased piece of historical research, Crocker does manage to blind himself to the attrocities and ugliness of the Nazi state, such is his venom reserved for his red enemies. He allows himself to take a step back from anti-Nazi rhetoric and ask some legitimate questions about the United States’ entry into the war; the reasons for it, the manipulation of Japan and of the American people, and the decisions that were put down in black and white on treaty papers between the Big Three.

As a compendium of Roosevelt’s actions as a machiavellian communist traitor, this book is worthless. But as a compendium of Roosevelt’s errors, perjuries, betrayals and bewildering altruism unsullied by the mistake of believing that Hitler was the only evil man in the world in 1941, this book is priceless. It is also incredibly entertaining.

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