Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 11/14/2001 5:39:16 PM EDT
Everybody's favorite dissembler is baaaack.... http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/317/living/Bellesiles_responds_to_critics_of_his_book+.shtml Bellesiles responds to critics of his book By David Mehegan, Globe Staff, 11/13/2001 An Emory University historian, author of an award-winning and controversial book, has published a response to critics who say that he stretched the historical record to prove his thesis that gun ownership was not as common in Colonial days as is generally believed. But Michael A. Bellesiles's formal reply to his critics, published in the November newsletter of the respected Organization of American Historians, is unlikely to pacify either his ideological foes or those academic critics who think his scholarship flawed. That's because Bellesiles addresses only a few alleged errors - including those underscored by a Boston Globe examination of the case in September. And he deflects concerns about data he says he gathered in San Francisco - data other researchers say were destroyed nearly a century ago - by saying he doesn't recall where he did the research. Bellesiles's 2000 book, ''Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture,'' was favorably reviewed and won the Bancroft Prize, given by Columbia University for a work of history. But its revisionist thesis that few Americans before the Civil War owned guns, and that half or more of guns in private hands were old or unserviceable, immediately came under attack from the National Rifle Association and other gun organizations. Gradually, the gun owners were joined by academic critics who complained that the book is riddled with statistical errors and shoddy analysis. A few alleged that Bellesiles had actually fabricated some of his data. Much of Bellesiles's article in the OAH Newsletter (www.oah .org/pubs/nl) deplores the personal and partisan tone of his opponents, and the ''hateful, threatening, and expletive-laced'' calls and e-mails he has received. He says he believes ''dedicated individuals'' had hacked into his Web site, ''altering and deleting material.'' He also describes the flood at Emory that, he says, destroyed all his notes on probate inventories. The most serious questions, principally raised by law professor James A. Lindgren of Northwestern University, focus on Bellesiles's use of those inventories - lists of personal possessions in probated wills in the Colonial period and in the 19th century. In an academic paper, Lindgren alleged that Bellesiles could not have done research on San Francisco probates, as he says he did in his book and on his Web site, because all such records were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Lindgren also alleged that Bellesiles miscounted and distorted inventories in Colonial Rhode Island and Vermont.
Link Posted: 11/14/2001 5:40:26 PM EDT
A Globe review of those allegations, including direct examination of the Vermont records, confirmed these three of Lindgren's allegations. For example, an examination of records in Vermont found several cases in which Bellesiles quoted inventories as describing guns as ''old'' or ''broken,'' when the original records do not contain those words. In his OAH article, Bellesiles concedes that he should have used larger samples of probate data for better accuracy. He says nothing about the Rhode Island probate data. And as for the San Francisco records, he writes that ''I completely forget in which of several California archives I read what I recall to be twelve probate records ... with San Francisco as the stated location.'' On the discrepancies between his Web site and the Vermont Colonial records, Bellesiles quotes the inventories as they now appear on his site (www.emory.edu/HISTORY/BELLESILES). After the Globe story appeared Sept. 11, his site was revised, and the words ''broken'' and ''old'' were removed. At the time, Bellesiles told the Globe he could not imagine where those words had come from, and suggested they had been planted on his site by hackers. In the OAH article, Bellesiles writes, ''I certainly did not seek to mislead anyone.'' In a statement Friday, the interim dean of the Emory faculty of arts and sciences, Robert A. Paul, wrote, ''I commend Michael for beginning this process of engaging his critics in his article. ... This is the first step in a long process as we see it; a process of careful and thoughtful scholarly debate. There will be other steps, such as the debate in the William and Mary Quarterly later this academic year and other academic judgments on the matter, that will inform any further action or decisions we will make.'' David Mehegan can be reached by e-mail at mehegan@globe.com. This story ran on page F3 of the Boston Globe on 11/13/2001. © Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company. ........... "Liar, liar- pants on fire" :^P
Link Posted: 11/14/2001 5:47:07 PM EDT
[url]http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/317/living/Bellesiles_responds_to_critics_of_his_book+.shtml[/url] In other words, Emory University is content that Bellesiles will bob, weave, evade, and outlast his accusers until this entire sordid episode fades from public memory. I guess academic ethics went out with personal responsibility when Clinton got elected.
Link Posted: 11/14/2001 5:47:09 PM EDT
They say history is written by the victors. I can imagine in 100 years when we are all disarmed and/or dead, they will say the battles of Concord & Lexington were fought civvie pitchforks against evil British Assault Rifles.
Link Posted: 11/14/2001 5:54:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SS109: They say history is written by the victors. I can imagine in 100 years when we are all disarmed and/or dead, they will say the battles of Concord & Lexington were fought civvie pitchforks against evil British Assault Rifles.
View Quote
What battle? When? Where?
Top Top