The Truth About “The Jefferson Lies”
Citing “lost confidence in the book’s details,” David Barton’s publisher announced Thursday that it had decided to cease publication of his bestseller The Jefferson Lies, a revisionist pseudo-history that portrays Thomas Jefferson, who was a deist and a slave owner, as an ultra-Christian champion of civil rights.
According to WORLD Magazine,
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.”
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”
The Jefferson Lies no longer appears in searches on Thomas Nelson’s website.
The Jefferson Lies has taken something of a beating of late. In May, conservative Christian scholars Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter released Getting Jefferson Right, a book devoted broadly to debunking Barton’s false portrayals of the third president. Two months later, Barton’s masterwork was voted the “least credible book in history” in a poll conducted by the History News Network.
The final straw may have been yesterday’s “All Things Considered,” in which NPR host Barbara Bradley Hagerty tore the book to shreds (metaphorically), citing Barton’s lack of credentials, blatant errors, and utterly inaccurate portrayal of Jefferson’s beliefs and intentions. (Crooks & Liars covered NPR’s defenestration of Barton here,)
Thomas Kidd of WORLD reports that Barton was perplexed by his publisher’s decision:
Barton told me that he regards Thomas Nelson’s decision as a “strange scenario.” He added that the press has not tried to engage him about the ostensible problems in the book, and that Thomas Nelson officials simply notified him by email that they were stopping publication.
By the way, Barton’s statement about the press’ supposed failure to “engage him about ostensible problems in the book,” is (surprise surprise) yet another lie.
In May, he appeared on “The Daily Show” to debate the book with Jon Stewart. And in June, he backed out of a scheduled radio appearance with John Fea, a Christian historian who has vigorously criticized his work, citing factual inaccuracies and noting, “Barton misrepresents the past by manipulating it for his own partisan political views.”
Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the report.