Pellegrino's atom bom book withdrawn from circulation

Historians in the News

Publication has been halted for a disputed book about the atomic bombing of Japan that “Avatar” director James Cameron had optioned for a possible film, The Associated Press has learned.

Publisher Henry Holt and Company, responding to questions from the AP, said Monday that author Charles Pellegrino “was not able to answer” concerns about “The Last Train from Hiroshima,” including whether two men mentioned in the book actually existed....

Doubts were first raised about the book a week ago after Pellegrino acknowledged that one of his interview subjects had falsely claimed to be on one of the planes accompanying the Enola Gay, from which an atom bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945. Holt had initially promised to send a corrected edition....

“I read a number of books on this period of time and none of them mentioned Mattias or MacQuitty. I knew there was no way those people could have been omitted if they were real,” said history professor Barton Bernstein of Stanford University.

Pellegrino’s own background was also questioned. He sometimes refers to himself as Dr. Pellegrino, and his Web site lists him as receiving a Ph.D. in 1982 from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. But in response to a query from the AP, the school said it had no proof that Pellegrino had such a degree....
Read entire article at AP

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Patrick Murray - 3/3/2010

Add Holt's embarrassment and cost to Alfred A. Knopf's cost and embarrassment over Michael Bellesiles's made up Arming of America.
It would be cheaper in the long run to send their manuscripts out to professional historians. Michael Korda's book on Eisenhower had stories in it that Korda just made up.