Thursday, May 12, 2005

Forgotten Book (follow-up)

Yesterday I described how not one but two New York Times book reviews had exaggerated just a tad--well, a whole lot actually--the earth-shattering quality of Timser Roger Cohen's Soldiers and Slaves. The reviews failed to disclose that Cohen had been scooped eleven years ago by another book, Forgotten Victims. Naughty, naughty! Definitely worthy of an "editor's note," which the Times reserves for major editorial lapses.

Just for the hell of it, I sent a copy of my item yesterday to the Times corrections department.

Well, folks, I am please to report that the Times has acted swiftly. Today it ran a correction on its review! I have to admit, this is a very responsible reaction to the..... hey, wait a second. The review doesn't correct the big boo-boo. Instead it picks at two nits: the book "misstated the timing of the transport of American prisoners to the Berga slave labor camp in Germany. It was in February 1945, not December 1944. The review also misidentified the home country of Mordecai Hauer, a Jewish prisoner who was at Berga with the Americans. It was Hungary, not Austria."

Still waiting for the Times to tell its readers about the canyon-sized omission in its two reviews of the Cohen book. Just a matter of time I'm sure.

Incidentally, I hope I did not imply yesterday that Cohen was receiving favored treatment because he is a Times staffer. Perish the thought! No doubt every author who writes one of the four or five thousand books that come out about World War II every year gets a rave review in the daily and Sunday Times. No doubt every one of them gets Tom Brokaw to write the rave review. If I implied otherwise, please forgive me!
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