Kenneth W. Stein: Former Aide, a Historian, Parts With Carter Over Book

Historians in the News

An adviser to former President Jimmy Carter and onetime executive director of the Carter Center has publicly parted ways with his former boss, citing concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Mr. Carter’s latest book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.”

The adviser, Kenneth W. Stein, a professor of Middle Eastern history and political science at Emory University, resigned his position as a fellow with the Carter Center on Tuesday, ending a 23-year association with the institution.

In a two-page letter explaining his action, Mr. Stein called the book “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments.” Mr. Stein said he had used similar language in a private letter he sent to Mr. Carter, but received no reply.

“In the letter to him, I told him, ‘It’s your prerogative to write anything you want when you want,’ ” Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “That’s not why I’m resigning.”

Mr. Stein said that he admired the former president’s accomplishments but that felt he had to distance himself from the Carter Center and the book, which was published by Simon & Schuster.

“It’s an issue of how history should be written,” Mr. Stein said. “I had to distance myself from something that was coming close to me professionally.”

Deanna Congelio, spokeswoman for Mr. Carter, released a statement with his response: “Although Professor Kenneth Stein has not been actively involved with the Carter Center for more than 12 years, I regret his resignation from the titular position as a fellow.” It did not address Mr. Stein’s criticism of the book.

That criticism is the latest in a growing chorus of academics who have taken issue with the book, including Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard, who called the book “ahistorical,” and David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“I was just very saddened by it,” Mr. Makovsky said. “I just found so many errors.”...

“He feels snubbed he wasn’t given any kind of acknowledgment for the work he’s done with Carter,” said Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans. “It’s a bit of bruised ego and philosophical difference being displayed in public here.”

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