Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fea & Throckmorton on Metaxas Blowing Off Criticisms

Check out Drs. John Fea and Warren Throckmorton on Eric Metaxas' disregard for criticisms of his new book. This is a link to the audio-clip of Metaxas. A taste of Metaxas' words:
There are errors in my book and people have written ESSAYS–I’m not even kidding.  People have attacked my book so much. This never happened to me before. They take a sentence that I could just change that sentence and everything would be okay.  They have written ESSAYS about this sentence.  I said something about freedom in our early days, implying that it was universal, which of course it was not (we had a lot of problems with religious freedom) ....


Tom Van Dyke said...

Metaxas is right. He overblew religious tolerance among the Puritans, but it did not invalidate his thesis and exhortation that Americans rediscover their faith and virtue.

When historians like the thesis [and politics] of who they're reviewing, they very gently note the mistakes. When they don't it's Katy bar the door.

Art Deco said...

Ordinarily, academics do not pay much attention to trade books. David McCullough or Stephen Ambrose might get a review. Ordinarily, a journalistic or academic book reviewer writes one review. Unless it's a retrospective of an author's work encompassing a bevy of his publications (something done at the New York Review of Books, reviews are seldom offered of books not published in the last couple of years.

In the pre-internet era, it was something of a commonplace that it was ill-advised to respond in print to reviews, and you very seldom saw letters to the editor from authors. I recall the theologian Mary Durkin writing a complaint about a review of a book she'd written collaboratively with her brother (Andrew Greeley), but the complaint was that the reviewer had, time and again, attributed to her brother views enunciated in chapters she had written (the attribution of each chapter being in the introduction). I recall Kevin Phillips complaining in a letter that it was negligent of Michael Dirda of the Washington Post to assign his books to Jonathan Yardley, because Yardley was an aficionado of belles lettres who did not know history and social research from tiddlywinks.

Andrew Greeley himself remarked that he got letters from readers. For his non-fiction, the letters of complaint exceeded compliments by a margin of 12-to-1.