Bizarre Behavior at Amazon Reviews

I have found the review section at Amazon.com to be a mixed bag in some cases.  To be sure, some reviews are thoughtful and informative, and others point out areas of disagreement or place a book into context.  Once in a while one comes across someone with an axe to grind. That’s part of the business.

Then again, occasionally one comes across someone like this, a soul so brave that one might at first overlook the fact that the reviewer is afraid to identify himself/herself.

The reviewer offers eighteen reviews, all awarding a single star. I am one of the targets, although at least in my case the reviewer struggled to come up with something more substantial (even if in the end those claims fell far short … the reviewer simply doesn’t understand what I wrote about Grant and drinking, choosing instead to engage in a mindless rant).  However, the reviewer spews his vitriol across a broad spectrum of authors, attacking Larry Daniel, Thomas Lowry, Benson Bobrick, Chester Hearn, and Richard Williams. It is in his review of Mr. Williams’s book that the following howlers appear: “I am one of the nation’s leading Civil War historians and thus feel qualified to comment on the merits of this work…. My apologies for the tone of this review; it’s hardly my practice to invoke invective.”  Yeah, right.  Elsewhere the reviewer assures us: “As the author of sixteen books on the Civil War and Indian Wars of the American West, I feel qualified to judge the relative merits of this work.”

The comments section following his review of Mr. Williams’s book is engaging.

I saw the hostile review about my book years ago, and shrugged. Recently, when I was looking at more recent books, I came across more wild accusations against another author, and I decided to take a look at the reviewer’s track record.  As you can see, it’s an interesting one, leading to some speculation among commenters as to the identity of the author.

Oh, well.

News and Notes, November 29, 2012

Very interesting …

  • Apparently Gary Adams isn’t the only plagiarist at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, as we see when we compare this post to what appears here.  At least take out the “B” next time.
  • Speaking of plagiarist Adams, I find this statement amusing: “There is no shame in admitting to the truth as long as one stays faithful; to the cause.” Interesting condition.
  • Guess those SCV folks really don’t want to talk about fraud in their own organization.

Of course, highlighting these transgressions is getting as old as hearing that Lindsay Lohan was arrested again. Wait … she was?

Happy birthday to Mariano Rivera, as #42 turns 43.