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Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959

January 14, 2003

Let's Put Bellesiles Into the Basement

Since October, all the dominoes have fallen on Michael Bellesiles. He's been forced to resign his tenured position at Emory University ... stripped of his prestigious Bancroft Prize ... and personally disgraced. Finally, last week his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, announced that it was ending all sales of Bellesiles' fraudulent anti-gun "history" book, Arming America.

But one more thing remains to be done to end Bellesiles' fraud. And YOU can do it. Better yet, it's easy, it can be fun, and it's a satisfying way of declaring victory over those who've lied about the benefits of gun ownership.

Just print out the bottom section of this alert, take it to your local library, and ask the librarians to move Arming America into their special collections.

Books in special collections are available to those who request them. But they're not in general circulation. This means nobody is "censoring" the book. But neither is anybody leaving it where unknowing people can easily stumble across it, repeat its distortions, and thus perpetuate its fraud for years to come.

In special collections, Arming America will be truly useful for the first time in its sordid history.

How could this piece of pseudo-scholarly trash be useful? As time goes on, it will be useful exactly in the same way that Hitler's (forged) diaries are useful. Exactly as old anthropology texts about the (fraudulent) Piltdown Man are useful. Exactly as the (fake and anti-Semitic) Protocols of the Elders of Zion can be useful. Scholars studying fraud and propaganda can learn from Arming America, Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other works of fakery. They can help teach us to recognize distortions more readily in the future and protect ourselves from them.

In special collections, where scholars and devotees of historical curiosities can access it, Arming America - an aggressively anti-freedom book - may actually do service to the cause of freedom. But it will no longer be lying like an intellectual rattlesnake in the path of the careless and unwary.

So let's put Bellesiles into the library basement where he belongs.

Take just a few minutes to drop the following note on the desk of your local head librarian.

Dear Librarian:

You have in your collection a history book that has been shown to be a fraud. Anyone who checks the book out believing it to be genuine (as many students might do while researching history papers) will be badly misled and may in turn perpetuate errors. I ask that you move this book to your special collections, where it will be available to those who wish to study fraudulent or disproven works, but where it won't be in general circulation to mislead people who stumble across it, unaware and unwary.

The book is:

Origins of a National Gun Culture
By Michael Bellesiles
Alfred A. Knopf, 2000

Please feel free to check the facts for yourself, using the following URLs.

1. In October 2002, Professor Bellesiles was forced to resign from his tenured teaching position at Emory University after an independent committee found evidence of "egregious misrepresentation" and "unprofessional and misleading work" in Arming America.

2. In December 2002, Columbia University stripped Bellesiles of the prestigious Bancroft Prize, which it had awarded for Arming America.

3. In January 2003, the publisher announced that it was ceasing all sales of Arming America and ending its contractual relationship with Bellesiles.

4. If you wish to learn more about Bellesiles' errors and misrepresentations (because those Emory's committee considered were barely the tip of the iceberg), see the work of historian Clayton Cramer and legal scholar James Lindgren, among others. The following History News Network article contains an extensive timeline and links to these and other sources.

Thank you for your consideration.

The Liberty Crew

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