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An article by Wes Christenson in Georgetown Today, Volume 4, Number 4 (March 1972), pp 12-13.


“Quigley . . . making Birchers bark”

   Georgetown Professor Carroll Quigley, doing some writing on his West Virginia farm, picked up the ringing telephone and answered it. The man on the other end of the line said he was from Dallas and wanted to ask the Georgetown historian "a few questions." 

    He did. For 40 minutes. When Dr. Quigley begged to be allowed to get back to his books, the caller said: "Just one more question, Professor. Why is Governor Nelson Rockefeller a Communist?"


   Dr. Quigley has been plagued by hundreds of letters and telephone calls from the American political spectrum's far right since he wrote his well-known Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time in 1966.


   The John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, the Phyllis Schafly Report and the telephone outlet known as "Let Freedom Ring" are among the groups which have been titillated by the book but strangely have denounced the author.

Making the Birchers bark


    The far right-wingers claim that Dr. Quigley's 1,348-page book, which sold some 8,000 copies and is now indefinitely out of stock, reveals the existence of a conspiracy by international capitalists on Wall Street and in London to take over the world and turn it over to the Communists. What's more, Dr. Quigley is an "insider" in the scheme, they charge.


    The Georgetown historian says that's nonsense, that he never wrote as much, and that he is not, as the right-wingers charge, a member of this group of super rich and elite "pro-Communist insiders."


   One right-wing author, in particular, has been giving Dr. Quigley a hard time. He is W. Cleon Skousen, a teacher of religion at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, whose background, Dr, Quigley said, includes 16 years with the FBI, four years as Salt Lake City's police chief and 10 years as editorial director of the magazine LAW AND ORDER.


   Professor Skousen, who wrote The Naked Communist in 1961, has followed it up with The Naked Capitalist: A Review and Commentary on Dr. Carroll Quigley's Book, Tragedy and Hope, a 121-page treatise which has 30 pages of direct quotations from Dr. Quigley's book.


   Meanwhile, the Utah professor has sold more than 55,000 copies of his book, and the Washington office of Liberty Lobby estimates it sells 25 copies a day now at $2 each. What's more, Dr. Quigley is less than happy with Professor Skousen's "lifting" 30 pages of his quotations without permission and, Dr. Quigley thinks, in violation of copyright laws.


   "Skousen's book is full of misrepresentations and factual errors," Professor Quigley said. "He claims that I have written of a conspiracy of the super-rich who are pro-Communist and wish to take over the world and that I'm a member of this group. But I never called it a conspiracy and don't regard it as such. "I'm not an 'insider' of these rich persons," Dr. Quigley continued, "although Skousen thinks so. I happen to know some of them and liked them, although I disagreed with some of the things they did before 1940."


   Skousen also claims, Dr. Quigley believes, the influential group of Wall Street financiers still exists and controls the country. "I never said that," Dr. Quigley said flatly. "In fact, they never were in a position to 'control' it, merely to influence political events."


   The influential Wall Street group of which he wrote about 25 pages in Tragedy and Hope ceased to exist about 1940, Dr. Quigley claims. He also faults Skousen for saying that Tragedy and Hope's intention was, in Dr. Quigley's words, "to reveal anything, least of all a purely hypothetical controversy. My only desire was to present a balanced picture of the 70 years from 1895-1965. The book is based on more than 25 years of research."


   Meanwhile, Tragedy and Hope is becoming a rare commodity following the publicity from right-wing groups. Copies often aren't returned to libraries around the country, although some right-wingers claim that left-wing librarians are removing it to "suppress" Dr Quigley's "revelations."


   Some rightists are claiming that Macmillan, Tragedy and Hope’s publishers, won’t reprint it because Macmillan allegedly has had second thoughts and now wants to hush up Dr. Quigley’s “findings.”


   Second-hand copies are being sold in bookstores now at $20 and up, with waiting lists of 12 to 20 persons seeking copies. Classified advertisements seeking the book are not uncommon in varied periodicals.


   Dr. Quigley says Tragedy and Hope, priced at $12.95 five years ago, never could be sold for that price today because “it was underpriced then. It cost less than a penny a page, when most hard-backed books now sell for at least two cents a page. I doubt if a reprinted version could be priced at $20 or more.”


   The Georgetown historian, who has been taking the whole thing in a combination of stride and amusement, is nevertheless irked because the controversy takes up so much of his time.


   School of Foreign Service alumni regularly write, wanting to know more. (Dr. Quigley’s “Development of Civilization” course was named their favorite in a recent survey of SFS alumni of 1955-69.)  People from all over the U.S. send in clippings about him from right-wing publications.


Tragedy and Hope - The World Since 1939

   Ironically, the parts of Tragedy and Hope from which Professor Skousen quotes most freely are in the second half of the volume, still available at $3.95 in paperback from Collier Books under the title: The World Since 1939: A History." Georgetown alumni who have lost their copies of Tragedy and Hope," Dr. Quigley said, "can buy the 676-page paperback if they want to check my quotations."


    His eyes twinkled and his accent from his Boston Latin School and Harvard days became even more pronounced: "You know, if enough people buy the paperback, maybe I will be rich.  But not as rich as the right-wingers think I am, with all my supposed 'inside' Wall Street connections.”


   --Wes Christenson.


Scans of original Georgetown Today article

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