Kindle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
657 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Betsy the Quilter said:
I really don't understand the satisfaction gained by telling lies....

Betsy
Well he said he wanted to add hope to his time in the concentration camps. I don't think he did it maliciously but at this point I have to blame publishers for not doing their homework!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
You really have to wonder sometimes....from the Associated Press. (btw, I think Oprah should get out of the book recommendation business.)

Publication of disputed Holocaust memoir canceled

By HILLEL ITALIE - 1 day ago

NEW YORK (AP) - The publisher of a disputed Holocaust memoir has canceled the book, adding the name Herman Rosenblat to an increasingly long line of literary fakers and bringing down with a crash his story - embraced by Oprah Winfrey among others - of meeting his future wife at a Nazi concentration camp.

Rosenblat's "Angel at the Fence" had been scheduled to come out in February, but Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), withdrew the memoir Saturday following allegations by scholars, friends and family members that his tale was untrue.

"Berkley Books is canceling publication of Angel at the Fence after receiving new information from Herman Rosenblat's agent, Andrea Hurst," the publisher said in a statement. "Berkley will demand that the author and the agent return all money that they have received for this work."

A couple of days earlier, Berkley had offered a qualified defense of the book, saying it was a work of memory, a story whose truth was known only to the author.

Rosenblat, 79, a resident of the Miami area, was virtually unknown to the general public until the 1990s when he began speaking of how he came to know his wife, Roma Radzicky. According to Rosenblat and his wife, he was a prisoner at a sub-camp of Buchenwald in Nazi Germany and she a young Jewish girl whose family was pretending to be Christian and lived nearby.

For months, they would meet on opposite sides of a barbed-wire fence, where she would sneak him apples and bread. Rosenblat was then transferred to another camp and the two lost touch, until the 1950s, when they were reunited by accident - on a blind date - in New York. They soon married and earlier this year celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The Rosenblats were interviewed twice over the years by Winfrey, who has called their romance "the single greatest love story ... we've ever told on the air." They have inspired a children's book and a feature film adaptation is scheduled to begin next year.

Unlike such fake Holocaust memoirists as Misha Defonseca ("Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years") and Benjamin Wilkomirski ("Fragments"), Rosenblat is indeed a survivor and records prove that he was at the Buchenwald camp.

But scholars doubted his story, noting that the layout of the sub-camp made such an encounter at the fence virtually unthinkable (They would have met right by an SS barracks). A recent article in The New Republic quoted friends and family members who were outraged by Rosenblat, so much so that one of his brothers stopped speaking to him.

The cancellation is sure to outrage survivors and scholars, who have worried that Rosenblat would encourage Holocaust deniers, and likely revive the debate over why publishers don't fact check books. Even after such fabrications as James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," another Winfrey favorite, publishers have said that with more than 100,000 books coming out each year, fact-checking is too time-consuming and too expensive.

Penguin has already had to break ties with two authors this year.

In March, the publisher pulled Margaret B. Jones' "Love and Consequences" after the author acknowledged she had invented her story of befriending gang members in South-Central Los Angeles. One month later, Penguin parted with romance writer Cassie Edwards over allegations that she had lifted numerous passages from other sources.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Personally, I think it's really sad that great books are forced to be published as memoirs.  A good book is a good book, regardless of the classification. 
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
63,461 Posts
Forced?  I guess I'm not seeing it.  He CHOSE to write this as a memoir, for whatever the reason.  He could have written a beautiful fictional novel and didn't.  Or, he could have told his real story as a Holocaust survivor...  He has all my respect for surviving and living a full and good life, by all reports.  If only....  I find it sad that the story ended this way.

Betsy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
325 Posts
You just have to think of Memoirs of a Geisha that was told as though it were an autobiography. If it's the story of your life that you wanted to be true, just write it as fiction.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
I wish I really knew where the problem is...

is it the publishers who seem to be blind to fact checking and knowing exactly what they are publishing?

is it the agents who feel like they can only pitch memoirs to publishers because that is the only thing that will sell, so they convince the authors to craft their stories as memoirs?

is it the authors who want to tell a story but their "real life" story isn't good enough so they add on and embellish...to the point of making the whole thing up...but they still think it is true?

is it a publishing industry that believes that all readers want is memoirs, therefore, everything is geared towards that end goal, no matter who or what has to be subverted in the process?

Clearly, something is wrong and there is a problem, but I can't put my finger on it--but I am not an insider. This has happened three times in one year. People who have the data should be able to figure out what is going on. My thought is that they are blinded by $$ and profit margins -- not a good equation for readers -- or authors, for that matter.

L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,676 Posts
Leslie said:
The cancellation is sure to outrage survivors and scholars, who have worried that Rosenblat would encourage Holocaust deniers,
That's the real tragedy and was my first thought. What Rosenblatt did is a betrayal of all those who died in the camps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,762 Posts
Leslie said:
I wish I really knew where the problem is...
Do you think it may just be that the book business is fiercely competitive? The odds against a new author finding a publisher are astronomical unless he or she is a celebrity or knows an insider. As a publisher yourself would you be more interested in a fictional story written by a concentration camp survivor or a true account?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Jeff said:
Do you think it may just be that the book business is fiercely competitive? The odds against a new author finding a publisher are astronomical unless he or she is a celebrity or knows an insider. As a publisher yourself would you be more interested in a fictional story written by a concentration camp survivor or a true account?
Exactly--it's the publishers. Which is what we readers saw with James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces. Originally, he marketed that book as fiction and was turned down by something like seventeen publishers. He was finally able to publish the book only if he would agree to call it a memoir. For anyone that's read it, A Million Little Pieces is a brilliant book. It was chosen as Amazon's Book of the Year in (I think) 2003. Yet, all these publishers want to play semantics.

So that's what I meant when I used the word forced, Betsy. I just think it's a shame that great books can be pushed aside because of labeling. And who knows, maybe this newest book would have been a clunker. But who knows? I would read it. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
Jeff said:
Do you think it may just be that the book business is fiercely competitive? The odds against a new author finding a publisher are astronomical unless he or she is a celebrity or knows an insider. As a publisher yourself would you be more interested in a fictional story written by a concentration camp survivor or a true account?
I'd want the story to be accurately portrayed. If it's fiction, but great fiction, then that's fine by me.

L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,762 Posts
Leslie said:
I'd want the story to be accurately portrayed. If it's fiction, but great fiction, then that's fine by me.
I made a bad mistake using you as an example, Leslie; I should have said something like if you were a big, money hungry imprint would you be more interested in a fictional story written by a concentration camp survivor or a true account?

(Leading? Who me?) ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,280 Posts
Jeff said:
I made a bad mistake using you as an example, Leslie; I should have said something like if you were a big, money hungry imprint would you be more interested in a fictional story written by a concentration camp survivor or a true account?

(Leading? Who me?) ;)
Hahaha, okay.

I read something the other day that said the big publishers (how many of them are there now? Five?) are all being run by hedge fund managers and therein lies the problem. That is probably an accurate assessment!

L
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,340 Posts
Individuals want their 15 minutes of fame and a nice book deal to bring in a lot of dollars.

Publishing Houses want a best seller.

Oprah wants a riveting story. I don't know that I really blame her too much. She shouldn't have to have a scholarly research team to look into each book she recommends. However if there is some question about authenticity prior to going on her show, then shr should definitely investigate.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,762 Posts
Leslie said:
I read something the other day that said the big publishers (how many of them are there now? Five?) are all being run by hedge fund managers and therein lies the problem.
There are no old houses left.

[quote author=New York Times]The old publishing house of Macmillan Co., which has been situated at 112 Fourth Avenue for so many years, is about to move to a new home at 65 Fifth Avenue. There has been erected a handsome building which will be devoted entirely to the uses of the firm.

HARPERS WILL MOVE BIG PLANT TO JERSEY; Famous Old Publishing House to Quit Franklin Square and Have Offices Uptown. PLAN A NEW BUILDING HERE Printing, in Camden, Will Be Done on Contracts With Independent Concern.
[/quote]
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
67,251 Posts
There was a 'Law and Order' on the other week where the guy killed was a street rat type who'd been pimped out as a kid by his mother or some such.  He'd written a book about it and his publicist was pushing it heavily.  Come to find out the publicist had written it, there was another street rat who claimed HE was really the guy, but the memoir/expose/whatever it was was really a compilation of true stories about a whole bunch of street kids.  Publicist felt it would sell better if there was "A" specific kid to point to as being the subject of the book.

Ann
(back from Cincinnati about an hour ago. . . .looking forward to my OWN bed tonight. :) )
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top