Reagan Author Shirley: Perlstein Used Copy Without Attribution

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 02:34 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Craig Shirley, the author of two award-winning books on Ronald Reagan, claims that liberal historian Rick Perlstein plagiarized his work in dozens of instances in Perlstein's new book, "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan."

Shirley said he "noticed startling similarities" in Perlstein's work to his 2004 book, "Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All."

Shirley's attorney Chris Ashby sent two letters to Perlstein's publisher, Simon & Schuster, that were obtained by the Daily Caller. In the first, Ashby asserts that Perlstein "lifts without attribution entire passages from 'Reagan's Revolution' — in some instances, attempting to conceal his theft by altering words or re-ordering sentences, but in other instances not even bothering to do so.

"He presents — again without attribution — facts and ideas Mr. Shirley first discovered and developed, recounting them instead as if they were widely known or as if he himself had discovered and developed them."

In the second letter, the attorney cited "Perlstein's intent to steal and conceal."

Simon & Schuster has denied Shirley's claims of plagiarism. "The books are very different in topic, style, and scope, and when they are considered as a whole, it is clear that any superficial similarities are de minimus," Elizabeth McNamara, the publisher's attorney, wrote in a letter to Ashby cited by The Weekly Standard.

In his "A Note on Sources" near the end of his 880-page book, Perlstein states that rather than "burden the end pages" with footnotes, "my publisher and I have decided to put the source notes online, with clickable URLs whenever possible."

On Perlstein's personal website, he "credits some — but not all — of his uses of 'Reagan's Revolution,'" Shirley said in a statement.

In his Acknowledgments at the end of the book, Perlstein writes: "Craig Shirley's book on Reagan's 1976 campaign saved me 3.76 months" of labor. He offers no further explanation of Shirley's role in his book, The Weekly Standard notes.

Citing one of what he claims are many instances of plagiarism, Shirley pointed out that he wrote: "About the only person in Kansas City who was keeping his cool was Reagan himself ... watching on television, dissolved in laughter."

Perlstein wrote: "Just about the only person who was calm through the entire thing was Ronald Reagan. He watched on television in his hotel suite, dissolving in laughter."

Shirley concluded: "It took me two years to research and write 'Reagan’s Revolution.' I conducted 104 interviews, reviewed dozens of books and thousands of articles, and was granted exclusive access to original source material archived at the Reagan Library. A team of researchers and I poured over rolls of microfiche, memos, and various news accounts and other information at the Library of Congress, the Carter and Ford libraries and other institutions.

"While the facts are not my property or the property of any other person, my original expression of those facts in 'Reagan’s Revolution' is protected intellectual property."


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