Monday, March 01, 2010

Today's fake: author made up quotes, degree, many other false claims

A recently released book, Last Train from Hiroshima, is so filled with inaccuracies and apparently made-up quotations, sources and facts that publisher Henry Holt is recalling the book, thousands of which are already in book stores.

There are many versions of this story around the web today, but the most complete and damning is the one on MobyLives, the website of publisher Melville House. In addition to the accusations against the Hiroshima book -- including a complete fabrication about how the pilot of the Enola Gay regretted his actions, which he never did -- the entry includes doubts about the author that arose in previous projects. The author, Charles Pellegrino, falsely (and transparently so) claimed to have invented the submersible robot that discovered the Titanic (he didn't), to have thought up the idea behind Jurrasic Park (not) and to have discovered the tomb of Jesus (no experts believe those claims, which are "nonsense" according to the Israeli Antiquities Authority). Finally, he gave himself a PhD from a New Zealand university which says it never granted him a degree.

A week ago Pellegrino had admitted to some of the errors in the Hiroshima book, but said he had been duped. The publisher at that time planned to correct later editions.

The MobyLives entry quotes a 2000 NYT review of the Titanic book which demands, "He shouldn't get away with it." Apparently he rather has, getting book contract after contract, until now.

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