In my review of Rick Perlstein’s book “The Invisible Bridge,” I criticized the author’s heavy use of secondary sources for his research and his failure to interview any Ronald Reagan insiders (‘The Invisible Bridge,’ Web, Oct. 21). The book purports to chronicle the decline of a Richard Nixon-led Republican Party and the rise of a Reagan-led party. In addition to the point I criticized, Mr. Perlstein did not include a bibliography or chapter end notes, both of which are important when questions of sourcing arise.
There is, however, a very serious charge made by another writer; namely, plagiarism. Craig Shirley, the author of carefully researched and well-regarded books about Reagan’s 1976 and 1980 campaigns, says that Mr. Perlstein copied many of his passages word for word.
On July 25, Mr. Shirley’s attorney sent a “Notice of Copyright Infringement” letter to Mr. Perlstein’s publisher, Simon & Schuster. It included several examples of the alleged plagiarism. Further, Mr. Shirley, having engaged a plagiarism expert who has given him a full report on the matter, says he intends to file suit. The courts will decide.
Meanwhile, Mr. Perlstein appears to have been publicly silent about the matter.
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