Historian Diana West Wins Prestigious Award for Provocative Cold War Narrative

Historian and widely published syndicated columnist Diana West has received the 2013 Mightier Pen Award from the Center for Security Policy. West’s most recent book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, details communist and Soviet infiltration into American government during the Cold War. 

American Betrayal has stirred up controversy on both sides of the political spectrum, which has been extensively covered by Breitbart News and the Breitbart News Sunday program on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125.

The Mightier Pen Award is given to those who show a “commitment to a robust national security and their efforts to educate our countrymen and women about the need to practice the philosophy President Reagan called ‘peace through strength.” Past winners include Mark Helprin, Charles Krauthammer, Roger Ailes, William F. Buckley, Jr., A.M. Rosenthal, Andrew C. McCarthy, Norman Podhoretz, Claudia Rosett, and Monica Crowley.

Frank Gaffney, the CEO of the Center for Security Policy said:

Diana West is among America’s most thoughtful and intellectually invigorating writers of our time. Her efforts to illuminate the contemporary threats to our society and culture – and to map out their historical antecedents and the appropriate responses to them – in order to preserve our freedoms, Constitution and nation are exemplary. We take great pride in bestowing this recognition on a cherished friend and admired colleague.

In an interview with Breitbart News, West said that she first considered researching and writing American Betrayal while writing the book The Death of the Grown Up, which chronicles American reaction to the attack on September 11, 2001. She said that Americans were taking an “ideological approach to reality,” and that they have pretended that Islam was, in the words of George W. Bush, a “religion of peace.”

She wanted to find other historical examples of this experience and said, “I was shocked to find out just how much precedent and how many parallels there are in the American experience with Communism.”

West undertook a massive amount of research to offer a fresh perspective on the Cold War and came to different conclusions than many Cold War histories that come to the conclusion that America’s victory was complete.

How can we claim total victory when our college campuses are outposts of Marx and a Republican majority in the House can't muster the votes to defund socialized medicine? This is what I set out to understand.

In an article on Breitbart News called “Who Really Won the Cold War,” she wrote, “Since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the findings that confirm the secret Soviet penetration of U.S. institutions have uneasily co-existed with the old legacy of Soviet-fanned disinformation…”

West has written about her book’s more stunning claims on Breitbart News. In one article she discussed the possibility that Soviet influence on the FDR administration in World War II led to the choice of Normandy as a target for amphibious assault. She said the most “ardent boosters of the Normandy invasion were Stalin and Harry Hopkins.” Hopkins was a close Roosevelt advisor, and some have claimed he was Soviet Agent number 19, though this point has been disputed by conservative writer and historian Ron Radosh who has taken a number of opportunities to attack West’s book.

David Horowitz, conservative activist and editor of FrontPage Magazine has also chimed into the debate on Breitbart News, siding with Radosh and saying about West, “She should not have written this book.”

Horowitz has continued to criticize West’s work; in a recent Frontpage article he said that she continues to attack him and Radosh because “she is incapable of answering our criticisms of her poorly conceived, ill-informed, conspiracy mongering book.”

He said the reason he exclaimed that West should not have written the book was not to silence her but “because her book is an embarrassment to her and to every conservative misled by it.”

West wrote a lengthy and detailed “Rebuttal” to her critics in a series of Breitbart News articles. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.

When Breitbart News asked if she was surprised by the attacks from the right, she said, “Certainly, the vitriol and false claims were unexpected, and the follow-up attacks by people who clearly hadn't read the book were very unexpected.” She stated, “Worth noting for the record is that the betrayal I chronicle cuts across party lines.”


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