Hard Facts, Soft Skull

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A propos of Joyce Malcolm's excellent autopsy on the Bellesiles affair (which appears in the March '03 issue of Reason and is now posted on Reason Online), we might as well blog the latest turn of events: In the wake of Knopf severing ties with the discredited historian, Soft Skull Press will be publishing a revised edition of Arming America in October 2003.

Here's SSP's self-description:

Soft Skull Press is fearless, progressive, independently minded literature, from political nonfiction to pop culture, intrepid fiction to innovative new poetry. Based in downtown Brooklyn, Soft Skull seeks to publish authentic voices that might not otherwise be heard.

To read their press release on Bellesiles, click here. Here's a bit from it, including a wonderful bit of bravado from Bellesiles himself, sounding a little too much like TV pitchman Billy Mays talking about Orange Glo for his own good:

The book will feature a new introduction by the author, as well as several clarifications concerning research and a new Table One (the original being the source of much of the controversy) in which the author recreates the contested data.

?I challenge anyone to show how the revised paragraphs addressing probate materials undermine in any way the thesis or logical structure of this book,? said Bellesiles, who is currently teaching in the U.K.

NEXT: The Surreal War

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  1. ?I challenge anyone to show how the revised paragraphs addressing probate materials undermine in any way the thesis or logical structure of this book,? said Bellesiles. . .

    You could paraphrase Bellesiles:

    “The fact that the records I cited to prove my thesis do not exist, in no way alters the validity of my thesis.”

    Bellesiles will win his challenge, as well. His thesis was wrong before, and the fact that he no longer has the false data to “prove” the thesis does not affect it’s validity in any way — it’s just as wrong now as it was before. Therefore, it is not undermined by the lack of facts. It’s quite a neat bit of sophistry, if you think about it.

  2. What, someone already has the copyright to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

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