The Corner

Re ‘Useful Idiots’

Glancingly, Mona Charen has mentioned her 2003 book Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First. Let me mention it less glancingly. It is a superb book — as I said in my review for NR. You can find it here, although the formatting is a little funky. A quick excerpt:

Mona Charen has given us something invaluable. . . . We will be mining Useful Idiots for years, to set memory right. To score points, yes — but to uphold history, too. Charen writes with energy, indignation, and heart. . . . She should be grouped with Peter Collier, David Horowitz, and Ronald Radosh as a writer who put the Left — including flighty, mainstream liberalism — on record.

Forget me. Do you know what WFB said about this book? “I prayed that such a book would be written but doubted anything so wonderfully readable and instructive at the same time would come along. But here is Mona Charen’s great explication of the central conflict of our times.”

Just so.

Um, speaking of books — in a few weeks, my history of the Nobel Peace Prize will be on the shelves (or wherever books are now). The 1934 laureate was Arthur Henderson, a British Labourite. According to Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia (and father of Daniel, whom you read here on NRO), there is no record of Lenin’s ever having said “useful idiot.” But he came closest when sending a note to his foreign-affairs commissar, Chicherin.

Wrote Lenin, “The fool Henderson and Co. will help us a lot if we cleverly prod them.”

Oh, yes.

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