Summers corrects Washington Decoded

Anthony Summers writes from Ireland:

In Washington Decoded, David Barrett questions the sourcing of a passage regarding CIA director Walter Bedell Smith in The Arrogance of Power, my biography of Richard Nixon. He further refers to that book as being “replete with badly-sourced stories.”

As a professor, I would like to think that — before writing such a thing — Barrett would have checked the Source Notes cited in connection with the subject in question. The sourcing covers fully half of p. 559 of the hardback of The Arrogance of Power. The specific passage Barrett appears to be complaining of as not being well sourced is in fact exactly sourced, on a line of its own as follows:
int. Gordon Mason and Hazard, op. cit. p. 223-; Hersh, op. cit. p. 158.
“Int.” means “Interview” — we interviewed former CIA branch chief Mason for the book.
“Hazard” refers — as specified supra. on the same page of my book — to Cold War Crucible, by Elizabeth W. Hazard, NY: Columbia University Press, 1996.
“Hersh” refers to Seymour Hersh’s book The Dark Side of Camelot.
As any reader — even dozing members of academe with axes to grind — can discover for themselves, the sourcing of my book The Arrogance of Power is meticulous. I hold no brief for the David Talbot book on Dulles, and have not seen it yet. However, those who launch hastily into damaging reviews should take the trouble to get their facts right.

–Anthony Summers

One comment

  1. Skeptic says:

    Having read your book about a decade ago, it is still here and I have a suggestion on how this confusion came about. There are, of course, two sections of notes: “Author’s notes” (pages 487-537) and “Source Notes” (pages 539-607). Looking only for the source on Malaxa alone might reasonably lead to checking only pages 498-499, rather than going on to 559-560. After all, there are cites in the “notes” and nothing I saw to indicate the existence of the subsequent section with definitive notations. The final index entry for Malaxa is page 498.
    Let me add that I have two editions of CONSPIRACY plus NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME and hope for more interesting materials from you.

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