Letters to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal





Editor's Note: Following are two letters sent to the Wall Street Journal in response to a letter by Stephen Ambrose. The first letter is from Randy Hils, the son of a Normandy veteran. The second is from Allen Campbell, Director, The Douglas DC-3 /Dakota Historical Society. The third letter is from Edson Strobridge. The letters were sent to the HNN offices by email.

LETTER FROM RANDY HILS

February 6, 2002

Letter to the Editor
The Wall Street Journal

Re: Ambrose Letter Today's WSJ

Dear Editor:

Stephen Ambrose's response today to Mark Lewis's editorial addressed the
plagiarism issue yet again. Yet one would ask why Dr. Ambrose will not
respond to the growing numbers of veterans who charge him with having made
gross errors, and with defamation of their reputations. When 9th Troop
Carrier Command D-Day veterans sought relief, Hugh Ambrose saw fit to paint
their requests as a"diatribe" not a discussion in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Copies of the correspondence between veterans and the Ambrose organization
however reveals the opposite. They are thoughtful letters from honorable men
and the Ambrose response, anything but, wanting discussion.

Stephen Ambrose has still not responded to my letter to the WSJ published
August 29, 2001 in which I challenged Ambrose to either document his
outrageous allegations against the veterans of 9th Troop Carrier Command or
apologize to those he has defamed. I ask him why he hasn't come forth to
accept the challenge and produce his proofs? He can't, because his research
is riddled with error in content and methodology. That he dammed these men
without ever interviewing them or looking at a single record of their
command, that he allows these accounts of his to stand in the face of the
evidence, that he leaves a cloud over the reputations of these great
fighters, is a historical obscenity.

Sincerely,

Randy Hils
3080 Whirlaway Trail
Tallahassee, FL 32309
(850)-894-0512
CPTHS70@aol.com

LETTER FROM ALLEN CAMPBELL

Dear Wall Street Journal:

Our organization is the oldest and largest historical society dealing with the Douglas DC-3 / Dakota aircraft. This aircraft was flown in the Normandy Invasion by the Troop Carrier Command of WWII - whose brave crews and troopers who risked all in the name of freedom.

Quotation's below from that wonderfully unreliable source, Stephen Ambrose:

"Nothing is relative, what happened, happened. What didn't happen, didn't, and to assert it [did] is to lie."

"Historians are obsessed with what is true. They have to prove what really happened; in quoting someone, they must demonstrate that person really did speak or write those exact words."

"And if journalists don't encourage the truth, historians eventually will."

"Old Soldiers Never Lie"

Dr. Steven Ambrose has already been brought to task over the issue of plagiarism, but that is not the measure of the problems with his writing. There is the matter of outright lying. Plagiarism indicates that one author sees brilliance in the work of a more gifted writer - and then steals (plagiarizes) it. Authors feel betrayed and very angry to find their work used by and credited to Dr.Ambrose. He might follow some of his own advice quoted above.

I don't find the 'Sins' of Ambrose to be 'Sins of Omission' but rather 'Sins of Submission'. Dr. Ambrose chose to submit lies about our honored American Combat Dead, and actively worked to destroy the spirit of those who served and survived. His fabrications mutilated the Honor, Dignity, and Pride of those who Served, and his damnable lies killed just as surely as any Nazi bullet.

It is one thing to be shot at by your enemy - but to be used by an American civilian who kills the very essence of all you stand for as a Veteran just for greed and entertainment is a crime.

If it affected one Veteran it would be terrible, there are, however, additional thousands - husbands, brothers and fathers. Dr. Ambrose' anti-American lies about some of our finest and greatest war heroes is sickening.

Veterans know the coward who hides from combat by running and not standing formation when the last roll call is taken just before moving up to the front; or who is always at sick call and never available to man an aircraft. Just the kind of guy you prayed to God would never serve with you or be your backup in time of trouble. So we recognize Dr. Ambrose' cowardice when he refuses to answer his critics. He hides from the Veterans and he hides behind his son, who replies for him.

What extraordinary maneuvers just to avoid the truth! They resemble the fantasies he made up about American Aviators over Normandy.

We strongly support a public meeting at which Dr. Ambrose and the Troop Carrier Command discuss these issues. At the end, we would anticipate a public apology. In addition:

His fictional works should be reclassified by the Library of Congress as fiction (we are working on this now)

Profits made off of these ill-conceived works should be directed to those he has harmed or a charity of the veterans' choice

We would enjoy an honest and historical record of the Troop Carrier Command written by Dr. Ambrose, but to date he has shown no concern with the truth in his so called 'historical' World War II writings.

Allen Campbell, Director
The Douglas DC-3 /Dakota Historical Society
http://www.aircareintl.org/troopcg.htm

LETTER FROM EDSON STROBRIDGE

To the Editor,

I was greatly disappointed in Dr. Ambrose's letter in response to Mark Lewis's editorial"Dont Indict 'Popular History' in the WSJ 1/22/02. Mark Lewis discussed plagiarism, specifically Ambrose's and if this is Ambroses long promised response in the national media to his critics he did little more that come across as arrogant in his defense of what he has done in the many books he has written. A little bit of plagiarism is OK. His rhetorical questions to Lewis by trying to put him on the defensive by belittling him over the number of sentences that have been plagiarized is childish and not a response one would expect from such a popular and well know historian

In my view Ambrose is clinging to the plagiarism issue because it is controversial, his readers don't seem to care and he does have some defenders. However he does not and will not address the challenges to the many reckless and careless inaccuracies in his book"Nothing Like it in the World", his take on the building of our nations first transcontinental railroad. Ambrose has churned out this book by recycling the work of others, making up false stories and his out and out lies which have been clearly exposed in"The Sins of Stephen Ambrose",, a review of fifty (50) major errors. All this the result of his use of copied stories,and made up historical events and exposed with documented rebuttals. As there was no apparent original research by Ambrose, his staff or his publishers Ambrose describes a number of historical events that never occurred. Many of his footnotes and endnotes in this book are worthless as many do not cite an accurate source. Due to his lack of original research he never discovered the truth of the history of the construction of this railroad and refuses to address these documented challenges to his claims.

What Dr. Ambrose should do is accept the responsibility for his work and respond to the challenges of his inaccurate and untruthful historical reporting instead of belittling Mark Lewis over the numbers of sentences he has been caught plagiarizing. If he needs exact numbers of sentences or words or facts he will find what he requires in"The Sins of Stephen Ambrose" which has long been available to all on the Internet. If only the book had been called what it truly is, an historical novel and report his sources, his publishers, the"Ambrose Mafia" and his readers would have been just as happy. There is nothing to be ashamed of in writing a novel, the most successful authors do just that.

Edson T. Strobridge
6924 Live Oak Lane
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Ph. 805-595-223



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gladys PEMBERTON - 8/8/2004

Mr. Jay Lefkowitz's recent column Houses of Worship - Singled Out is to be applauded for bringing to light the recent vote of the ultra-Liberal General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) calling for a divestment campaign from corporations doing business with Israel. The members of the General Assembly who supported this resolution should certainly be called to account, but as Mr. Lefkowitz suspects, and as a Presbyterian, I concur, most Presbyterians do not or will not know of this divestment resolution.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lefkowitz totally ignores the other Presbyterian Church in this country, the fast growing and more Conservative Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). While the old line Protestant churches such as the Presbyterian Church USA have been losing membership, it is the Evangelical conservative churches such as the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) that are growing. One example of this is the Manhattan-based Redeemer Presbyterian Church PCA which has grown in a few short years time to 4,000 members, meeting in of four locations in Manhattan, with plans to add 35-40 satellite Churches throughout NYC in the next couple of years).

A review of the PCA magazines and literature indicates no call for a divestment campaign such as that proposed by the Presbyterian Church USA.

Mr. Jay Lefkowitz's recent column Houses of Worship - Singled Out is to be applauded for bringing to light the recent vote of the ultra-Liberal General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) calling for a divestment campaign from corporations ding business with Israel. The members of the General Assembly who supported this resolution should certainly be called to account, but as Mr. Lefkowitz suspects, and as a Presbyterian, I concur, most Presbyterians do not or will not know of this divestment resolution.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lefkowitz totally ignores the other Presbyterian Church in this county, the fast growing and more Conservative Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). While the old line Protestant churches such as the Presbyterian Church USA have been losing membership, it is the Evangelical conservative churches such as the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) that are growing. One example of this is the Manhattan-based Redeemer Presbyterian Church PCA which grown in a few short years time to 4,000 members, meeting in of four locations in Manhattan, with plans to add 35-40 satellite Churches throughout NYC in the next couple of years).

A review of the PCA magazines and literature indicates no call for a divestment campaign such as that proposed by the Presbyterian Church USA.

I suggest that Mr. Lefkowitz contact the Presbyterian Church PCA and get their input regarding this matter before painting all Presbyterians with such a wide brush.

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