Thursday, January 12, 2006

Goodwin Goodloss

When I discovered that my favorite author, well at least recently, is visiting Springfield, Illinois I excitedly told my wife to call, and find out the details on Doris Kearns Goodwin's planned visit.

Next month Goodwin will be speaking at a Banquet, but sadly I won't be attending - due to money, yes money.

Sorry, but at seventy five dollars a ticket I'd rather go to the bookstore, and walk out with a few good books - and a triple mocha.

Still, for at least a day or so I had imagined myself lucky enough to attend, and wanted to let Ms. Goodwin know how much I appreciated her recent book, Team of Rivals. I guess I could just put that in a fan letter one day.

And so it goes, another sad story from the life of the working poor.


BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Does Goodwin's past pilfering concern you? I've read recently that there may be additional plagiarism charges forthcoming.

I know she is a respected historian and a talented writer, I'm just curious what your reaction is. I really want to read her book on Lincoln, but I admit, her reputation is somewhat tainted in my view.

You obviously are more familiar with her work than I, so I'll take your advice to heart.

JeromeProphet said...

The same has been said of several popular non-fiction writers in recent years.

I won't defend, or pretend - I just don't know.

Part of the problem is the reliance of the author upon others to do research.

Writers often feel the pressure to produce - and in effect become an industry, employing others to do the dirty work.

Certainly there's concern about that.

But I must confess to reading several authors who have been accused of plagiarism - even on those books I've enjoyed the most - yet I still liked the books.

I watched CSPAN, I believe it was summer of 2005, and an author had written a book on plagiarism. He read several passages from some best selling history books, and then from lesser known books. It was quite obvious what had happened - theft.

I kept wondering why? Why not give credit where credit was due? It just didn't make much sense to me.

We may find that mistakes were made in Team of Rivals, but I was impressed by the sheer number of pages dedicated to sourcing each and every chapter, nearly each and every page - and each and every citation.

So maybe Goodwin has learned her lesson, and hopefully her team of authors which work for her have properly cited all sources for this book?

I sure hope so, because it is a most excellent read.

If I had the money, I'd go to the banquet, and ask her ideas on the subject.

email jp






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