Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spit-Take of the Day

History News Network reports that former Emory University scholar and former Bancroft Prize winner Michael Bellesiles is publishing a new book, this time on the year 1877. I use "former" for both descriptives because this clown --and that is a generous term-- was stripped of both his tenure (!) and his prize for his infamous book on colonial gun policy. It seems that someone may (or may not) have faked his research...

At any rate, that's not the spit-take part. That's here, from the publisher's blurb:

"Michael Bellesiles is perhaps most famous as the target of an infamous "swiftboating" campaign by the National Rifle Association, following the publication of his Bancroft Prize-winning book Arming America (Knopf, 2000)—"the best kind of non-fiction," according to the Chicago Tribune—which made daring claims about gun ownership in early America.  In what became the history profession's most talked-about and notorious case of the past generation, Arming America was eventually discredited after an unprecedented and controversial review called into question its sources, charges which Bellesiles and his many prominent supporters have always rejected."

News flash: the man lost his tenure! Now for the bien pensant world of academia to turn on one of its own, there has to be something so seriously wrong that it cannot be ignored without calling academia's own credentials into existence. (Note that this was before climate change and the controversy over Professor Mann, so maybe that's no longer 100% true.)

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