Thursday, August 9, 2012

David Barton on Jefferson too Full of Lies for Publisher

David Baron is a famous (infamous?) pseudo-historian, specializing in early American history. He is a favorite of the Religious Right because he tries to argue from the primary documents that the US was founded as a Christian nation, on Christian values, and not on Enlightenment values. And, heaven forbid, none of the Founding Fathers were deists; in his interpretation, they were nigh-on evangelical (not the denomination, but in the attitude of spreading the gospel).

He has written several books before, and they had be addressed by historians as full of mischaracterization and even fabrications. One of the best volume to read just for that is Chris Rodda's book Liars for Jesus (currently in its first volume). It is thorough, and you will learn some real American history while you're at it.

Nonetheless, Barton published a new book which pretty much repeated the same old, same old, in The Jefferson Lies. The 'lies' were supposed to be those things promulgated by liberal professors to disguise the real Thomas Jefferson. And wouldn't you know it, the book isn't better researched than before. NPR did a review of it, and the verdict is very bad.

How bad? As bad as the publisher pulling the book from shelves! The publisher, Thomas Nelson, received complaints from multiple sources, and then they pulled the book due to lack of confidence in its content.

This may not be the end of the book's life, however. Barton can go to another publisher (there are plenty of publishing houses that don't mind this sort of criticism and even thrive on it), and he could self-publish. Nonetheless, this is a significant and public blow to his credibility. Will it sting long?

You decide!

Hat tip to Hemant Mehta, thanking Greg for the links.

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