Rick Perlstein

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Eric S. Perlstein
Rick Perlstein at a piano, selecting music to play from a book of jazz standards, Chicago, March 2013.
Born 1969
Ethnicity Jewish[1]
Education University of Chicago (B.S., 1992)
University of Michigan
Occupation Writer

Eric S. "Rick" Perlstein (born September 3, 1969) is a American historian and journalist.[2][not in citation given]

Perlstein graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in History in 1992, and did graduate work in American Studies at the University of Michigan.[3] Until 2009 he was a Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future where he wrote for their blog about the failures of conservative governance, The Big Con.[3][4]

Perlstein is the author of Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001), which won the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for history,[5] and Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008), which was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review. His next book, "about the rise of Reagan in the 1970s"[6] titled The Invisible Bridge, was released in August 2014.[7]

The Invisible Bridge[edit]

On August 4, 2014, a New York Times article reported that Perlstein's 2014 book The Invisible Bridge, received "sharp criticism from some scholars and commentators who accuse Mr. Perlstein of sloppy scholarship, improper attribution and plagiarism." Conservative author and historian Craig Shirley alleged that Perlstein stole distinctive words and phrasing from Reagan’s Revolution.'[8]

However, supporters of Perlstein's work viewed Shirley's accusations as a partisan attack meant to discredit scholarship that ran contrary to his views. Responding to numerous complaints, an August 12, 2014 blog post by Margret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, dismissed the plagiarism allegations as a "smear," and criticized the reporting for "[C]onferr[ing] a legitimacy on the accusation it would not otherwise have had."[9] An additional analysis by Mark Liberman, the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, found that at least one of Shirley's books contained similar instances in which he borrowed details and paraphrased passages from other published works, despite his insistence that Perlstein's doing so amounted to "plagiarism." [10]

Responding to letters from Mr. Shirley and his attorneys, Perlstein's publisher, Simon and Schuster, issued a statement that the claims of plagiarism "ignored the most basic principal of copyright law." Those same letters from Shirley's attorneys demanded that Simon and Shuster pay Shirley $25 million in damages, pulp all copies of The Invisible Bridge and take out ads of apology in various publications. If these demands weren't met, the letters promised that a lawsuit would be filed on July 30, 2014, nearly a week before the book was to be released on August 5. However, as of August 8, 2014 there was no evidence a lawsuit had ever been filed.[11]



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