Friday, August 17, 2012

Roundup: The Trials and Tribulations of David Barton

Elise Hu, "Publisher Pulls Controversial Thomas Jefferson Book, Citing Loss Of Confidence," NPR, August 9, 2012

Citing a loss of confidence in the book's details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.

Chris Beneke and Randall Stephens, "Lies the Debunkers Told Me: How Bad History Books Win Us Over," Atlantic blog, July 24, 2012

Earlier this month, George Mason University's History News Network asked readers to vote for the least credible history book in print. The top pick was David Barton's right-wing reimagining of our third president, Jefferson's Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson. But just nine votes behind was the late Howard Zinn's left-wing epic, A People's History of the United States. Bad history, it turns out, transcends political divides.

John Fea, "What Can We Learn From the David Barton Controversy?" Patheos, Anxious Bench, August 15, 2012

In case you have not heard, last week Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher based in Nashville, ceased publication of David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.”>>>

Paul Harvey, "David Barton: Falling from Grace?" Religion Dispatches, August 10, 2012

This has been the summer of discontent with David Barton. First, in a poll taken by History News Network, Barton’s newest work, The Jefferson Lies, topped the list of “least credible history works in print.” The same work met a unanimous chorus of refutations from Jefferson public humanities scholar and radio personality Clay Jenkinson, from religious historians ranging from Martin Marty to John Fea, and (in the full length work Getting Jefferson Right) from Grove City College professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter.>>>

Jennifer Schuessler, "Hard Truth for Author: Publisher Pulls ‘The Jefferson Lies’" NYT, August 14, 2012

Last month the History News Network voted David Barton’s book “The Jefferson Lies” the “least credible history book in print.” Now the book’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, has decided to stop publishing and distributing it.

The book, which argues that Thomas Jefferson was an enthusiastic orthodox Christian who saw no need for a wall of separation between church and state, has attracted plenty of criticism since it appeared in April, with an introduction by Glenn Beck. But the death knell came after Jay W. Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author, with James Robison, of “Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It’s Too Late,” began to have doubts and started an investigation.

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