Ted Savas Learns What the Delete Button Really Means

Update: Ted Savas has issued a formal apology at his blog site.

Ted Savas PostAt some point every blogger experiences regret after hitting the publish button prematurely. You can delete what you have written, but that doesn’t erase all traces of the post. This is something I constantly hammer home to my students when using social media. The information is easily accessible if you know where to look. Ted Savas should have realized this yesterday as he thought through what he believed to be an appropriate response to a negative review of one of his books.

The screenshot to the right is that post. Perhaps he took it down after reading author Stephen Hood’s apology to the author of the review, which he posted on my blog and at The Civil War Monitor. It’s hard to imagine that at any time Mr. Savas thought that this blog post was an appropriate response, but there it is – the clearest window to date into his distorted view of this situation.

Now that Stephen Hood has publicly apologized it is only fitting that Ted Savas do the same. No one would care if we were talking about an anonymous blog, but Ted Savas is the founder and CEO of a reputable publishing house. You will notice that the blog is linked to the home page of his company’s website, which makes it an extension of that site.

His post doesn’t just challenge the integrity of a nameless reviewer, but that of a professional historian. Ted Savas has not provided one shred of evidence in support of his accusation that the author of the review did not read the book. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate about the review in question. Here is a reminder of what Mr. Savas has stated in the comments section of his own blog:

In the end, this professor did not read this book, and the fact that she did not and tried to pawn off a hit review is disgusting. If I was her dean, I would investigate and if I reached the same conclusion, I would fire her. She is unethical. This is the issue.

While Savas qualified the comment, this remains not only potentially damaging to the reviewer in question, but an embarrassment to Savas’s loyal customer base and especially to his community of authors. I would love to know what some of them think of this behavior. To me it does nothing less than sully the reputation of his entire publishing operation.

I know I speak for many when I ask that Mr. Savas put this to rest and issue a formal apology on his blog.

The URL for the screenshot: The cache URL: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fsavasbeatie.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F12%2Fmy-review-of-professor-carole-embertons.html&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

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54 thoughts on “Ted Savas Learns What the Delete Button Really Means

  1. M.D. Blough

    There’s the very fact of the screen shot. Even I know how to do one and I’m one of the least computer adept people there are. I’ve also been through trying to help get a photo (not mine nor of me) deleted from a page and caches do live forever.

    I can understand a first-time author Sam Hood taking reviews so personally although I think his publisher should have prepared him for the fact that in publishing, as in the rest of life, not everyone is going to love you. I respect that he has the integrity to apologize fully and graciously (none of that “if anyone was offended” non-apology) both on Civil War Memory and on Civil War Monitor. I really don’t understand Ted Savas, a publisher of long-standing, behaving as he has.

    Reply
  2. Johnny

    As a loyal SB customer I’ve become more and more turned off by the digital exhaust TPS spews day in and day out. Make no mistake, SB markets some terrific authors who have turned out many of my favorite books that line the shelves of my home library. TPS would do well to consider how he’s reaching his loyal customers, many of whom may not share his same point of view.

    Several years ago I sent an e-mail to SB customer service to ask about the release date for one of their upcoming books. Within several hours TPS had ‘friended’ me on Facebook. Strange, to be sure, but I’d figured that maybe I’d be getting the inside scoop on SB releases. Wrong. Day and day out I’ve been treated to scathing, vicious and downright hateful rants against all things Obama/Obamacare and the Democratic Party. You don’t need to agree with the President or his policies (and I’m not saying I do), but don’t friend your customers and then subject them to that morning, noon and night. It got to the point where I had to block him just for some peace of mind.

    Rather than wondering how his customers feel, I’d be interested in knowing how his authors feel. I know Eric Wittenberg is decidedly against political rants on Facebook – how does he deal with his publisher’s relentless political attacks? I know we don’t want to turn this into a TPS-bashing thread, but I think it’s worth discussing how social media impacts your customer base, authors and general professional perception.

    Reply
    1. Carter

      I long heard about Ted Savas’s thinly veiled racism for several months prior to “friending” him on Facebook. His almost non-stop, disgusting, arrogant statements about the President of the United States have permanently ended my purchasing of Savas-Beatie titles. With Savas’s comments about “Pharaoh Barack” and actually saying that George Zimmerman was “racially lynched” (Savas’s exact phrasing), and that Treyvon Martin was the criminal in the situation, I have been permanently deterred from ever again purchasing ANY Savas-Beatie titles.

      The fact that he so freely misuses terms like “racially lynched” shows just how removed his thinking can be from a balanced understanding of American history.

      After all of the Savas smoke settles, what emerges from Ted Savas is someone who believes that liberal Democrats everywhere are irrepressibly stupid, Professional historians are smarty-pants elitists and that economic, social, labor histories of the American Civil War, in addition to monographs on race, Reconstruction and slavery are annoying academic noise. Ted Savas rarely strays beyond pure “military history” (which is fine, but why hold every other aspect with such utter disdain? This Hood book is among his very first trips into the highly controversial realm of Civil War memory studies, and he and his colleagues clearly can’t stand the fire in the kitchen, so therefore Savas falls back on his ethos of viciously and unprofessionally attacking everything that he personally disagrees with.

      It is one thing to offer an endless spree of filthy and disrespectful comments about the President of the United States (while alienating HALF of his reading base), but it is quite another to continue to behave in such an UNPROFESSIONAL manner to now viciously attack a professional-trained historian with such a bully-on-the-playground-attitude.

      In the end, Ted Savas is disrespectful and unprofessional to ANYONE who disagrees with his books or his politics. I will never again purchase another book from his publishing house. I am just sick of his attitude.

      Lastly, I would encourage authors to publish their books elsewhere. You can do better, especially if you prize professionalism.

      Reply
    2. R. Alex Raines

      Yes. I agree with Johnny. I’ve been a fan of SB for quite some time, but the actions of Ted Savas in regards to this book have made me seriously reconsider purchasing any more of their books. That’s not fair to the authors, but with this sort of leadership, I wonder about the quality of editing.

      Reply
  3. Theodore P. Savas

    I think you are generally right on this one, Kevin. My words were ill-chosen and I regret having thrown a sharp spear in the air at Dr. Emerton. That is not my MO in the publishing arena.

    I still think the review is unfair, but Professor Emerton has a right to write whatever she wishes and readers will make their own decisions. I thought it about long and hard and took down the second posting.

    I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      First, it’s Professor Emberton. I assume you will be issuing a statement on your blog that retracts previous statements you made about Professor not having read the book. Good day.

      Reply
  4. Eric Wittnberg

    Johnny,

    It’s a tough situation. There is no doubt or question about the fact that S-B is my favorite publisher. There are lots of reasons for that, including, but not limited to the fact that Ted very much shares my philosophy about what makes a good book. He also knows how to market them, and they support my marketing efforts. Ted and I have been friends for many years, and I am personally very fond of him.

    At the same time, and as you quite correctly point out, I find constant political rants on FB to be VERY distasteful, and I have not been shy about saying so. And I have not been shy about telling Ted that I don’t appreciate the constant negative political rants. But he has his own agenda and has elected to proceed with it regardless of whether it turns people off. That’s his choice. So, I was left with the unpleasant choice of what to do about it. For now, I haven’t blocked him, but that may well yet happen, because I just don’t want to hear it. That day probably is not very far off, and its arrival will make me very sad.

    Eric

    Reply
    1. James F. Epperson

      What is sad is that Ted’s political rants are potential turn-offs to future customers. He’s in a retail business, and telling half the population that their worldview is wrong is not conducive to selling them books. I know several people in public or quasi-public positions who maintain two FB identities, precisely to keep their personal quirks and views away from their professional lives.

      Reply
    2. Johnny

      Eric,

      I appreciate your response. There’s no doubt that I’ll continue to purchase books and support SB, due in large part to the terrific lineup of authors like yourself that continue to put out highly-researched and thoroughly enjoyable books. Keep up the good work!

      Reply
      1. Eric Wittenberg

        Thank you for the kind words, Johnny. I have some interesting things in the works. Stay tuned.

        Carter, I very much appreciate your sentiments, and I completely understand your concerns. While I’m not in this for the money per se, I spend a LOT of money researching and writing a book. It would be nice to make some money at this to at least cover costs. Say what you will about Ted–he knows how to market and sell books, and that’s important to me.

        And I want to suggest that perhaps you might want to reconsider your position, as you may well end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

        Eric

        Reply
  5. Brad

    I’m guessing that Mr. Savas’ attorney advised him to issue a retraction so as not to leave himself and the company open for a defamation lawsuit.

    It shows how we all have to pause before saying something in the heat of the moment.

    Reply
    1. Theodore P. Savas

      Brad

      Certainly you are correct about the heat of the moment.

      As to the first part–no. No one advised me of anything, and there would have been no legal reason to retract anything. What I wrote was simply too harsh and unfair to the reviewer. I should have simply posted the review and left it at that–which is what I have always done.

      Live and learn. We all make mistakes and I made one here. That’s the long and short of it. Be well.

      tps

      Reply
  6. A Fine Lady Indeed

    So basically Ted Savas called someone unprofessional and unethical, then patted her on the head and said “nice girl” by way of apology. I’m sure Teddy is himself quite the fine lad but here’s a message from the 21st century: We’re still waiting for you to show up!

    (I won’t hold my breath.)

    Reply
  7. Al Mackey

    What apology? I didn’t see an apology there. I saw a toned-down more of the same. Nice to agree she has the right to review a book the way she sees fit, but I saw no apology to her for questioning her integrity and no retraction of his claim that she didn’t read the book.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      I tend to agree with you, but it looks like this is the best one can expect from Ted Savas. I also love the condescending reference to Emberton as a “fine lady.”

      Reply
  8. Former Savas-Beatie Customer

    Could the following link from Savas’s own blog also please be addressed? Savas clearly LOOKS DOWN on a great many of his loyal customers. Just read over his arrogant attacks upon folks who have frequented his blog in the past two days! Here it is, Ted attacking his own customers on his own blog, unreal. I will never again buy a book from this man:
    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2378699042434857883&postID=4812956287844117377&isPopup=true

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      I assume that Mr. Savas no longer stands behind this and other comments you’ve referenced. Time to move on.

      Reply
  9. Former Savas-Beatie Customer

    Here are just a couple of tastes of Ted Savas (in his own words) RAGING against a customer on his own blog:

    Ted Savas wrote: “You haven’t read the book. What a surprise. Other publishers can do what they wish. I know what our bottom line looks like, I know the quality of what we publish, and I know bullshit reviews when I read one. Why don’t you post your real name so we can see what you have written since you are an expert on the law, publishing, and evidence?”

    Ted Savas wrote: “Further, I do not believe you have read the book either … clearly you have no idea whatsoever what is inside the covers of this book … As both an attorney and a trained historian, your second point made me laugh out loud. Of course this is not a court of law–but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Are you saying logic, reason, and facts have no purpose in a history book? That is nonsense, my friend.”

    Ted Savas wrote: “I find it laughable that you are telling me what is or is not a history book.”

    This man is very clearly unhinged with rage against his own customer base. There is no call for this level of arrogance and anger against good people who frequent his blog to engage in conversations with him and use their hard-earned money to buy his books. I will not be buying anymore SB books. He doesn’t get my $$$.

    Reply
  10. Eric Wittenberg

    I would again like to reiterate the point that while I understand the reactions to how Ted handled this situation, the idea of never buying another S-B title really harms those of us who are innocent in this, and that’s the authors. If you don’t buy another S-B book, you not only miss out on good books, but you harm guys like me, Scott Mingus, Charlie Knight, Dave Powell, J. D. Petruzzi, and the rest of us who have had their work published by Savas-Beatie. Forgive me, but I cannot understand how throwing the baby out with the bathwater–which is what you do if you refuse to buy any more books because of this situation–is either fair or appropriate when all it does is to punish those of us who had no role in any of this. How is that a fair or appropriate response?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Hi Eric,

      Unfortunately, Mr. Savas has placed you in a difficult position. I’ve purchased a few Savas titles over the past few years, but I will not be doing so in the future. I simply will not give my hard earned money to an individual who engages in such behavior. It’s still hard to believe that the ceo of a publishing house would attack the integrity of a reviewer with absolutely no evidence. I certainly understand if others feel the same way.

      Forgive me, but I cannot understand how throwing the baby out with the bathwater–which is what you do if you refuse to buy any more books because of this situation–is either fair or appropriate when all it does is to punish those of us who had no role in any of this. How is that a fair or appropriate response?

      Eric, this may not be fair to you and others, but this is the direct result of the actions of the individual who you have chosen to bring your work to the public. Losing out on some solid history is well worth it if it means keeping my money out of Ted Savas’s hands.

      Reply
      1. Eric Wittenberg

        Kevin,

        If you’re determined to throw the baby out with the bath water, then there’s not much I can say about it other than that I cannot begin to understand the logic behind such a decision. But then again, I don’t need to understand it. If you feel good about cutting off your nose to spite your face, that’s not something I need to understand.

        Eric

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Eric,

          Have you never protested a product because of the actions of the head of a company? Why should I hand over my hard earned money to someone who behaves in a way that I find repulsive? Honestly, this seems to me to be a no-brainer. It is unfortunate that authors such as yourself are caught in the middle, but your disapproval is being directed at the wrong person.

          Reply
          1. Eric Wittenberg

            Kevin, I can honestly say that I have spent a lifetime avoiding cutting off my nose to spite my face. Like I said, I don’t need to understand. I don’t have to like it–which it ought to be abundantly clear that I don’t like it–but I don’t have to understand it. And I will remember it, too.

            Reply
            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              Eric,

              So, you’ve never protested a product owing to the conduct of its CEO? I find it hard to believe that you can’t appreciate a position such as this.

              And I will remember it, too.

              Wow. Just, wow.

              Reply
  11. Former Savas-Beatie Customer

    Dear Reader,

    I do not give much leeway for readers who choose not to use their real names. I suggest you move along.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Nathan Towne

    Typically I try to avoid becoming tangled up in disputes between other people that have little to do with me as it is usually an unproductive exercise, but in all honesty I don’t really feel that Mr. Savas made any extremely out of line or unnecessary comments with regards to Dr. Carole Emberton’s “review” of Sam Hood’s book. I read her review long before this episode, the day it was referenced by another reader on this blog (Pat Young) and I read the review that day. In all honesty, while running the risk of being derided by some commenter’s on here, my initial impression was also that she didn’t actually read the book. I won’t say that, as Mr. Savas did, because I have no real idea if she did or if she didn’t (and frankly it isn’t my business) but I understand why he did. In fact, her review, is really not a review at all. She dealt with none of the substance or arguments in the book, she made no statements with regards to the literature as it pertains to Hood (aside from two brief mentions of Brian Craig Miller’s study), she made not a single substantive statement with regards to Hood’s actions or his service covered in Sam Hood’s book, sources used, ways in which they were covered or cited e.t.c. The book is set up as a analysis of the historiography and essentially is structured by opening with a preface and foreword, followed by an introduction which covers Hood’s life and career up through his transfer to the Army of Tennessee in February of 1864 in a total of ten pages. It then covers his service with the Army through the fall of Atlanta in next about sixty pages, while dealing with several larger histriographical issues as well, before covering the army’s shift in Alabama and the following campaigns up through the culmination of the 1864 Tennessee campaign. With regards to any of the campaigns or actions covered in the book, or larger arguments made by the author, Dr. Emberton did not cover them in her review. As far as her knowledge and understanding of Hood’s service, it is beyond what I can say, although it wouldn’t be unreasonable for someone to infer one of three possibilities. Firstly, she didn’t actually read the book. Secondly, she did read the book, but really doesn’t understand the intricacies of the campaigns or actions covered or thirdly, she simply didn’t bother covering them. It would be a futile exercise attempting to guess which of these she falls under, but they are not unreasonable or unfair intuitions. Finally, the truth is that she opened herself to the criticism that she received by several statements that she made in her review. After really not covering the material at all, she made the following ludicrous statement.

    “An intrepid reader may catch glimpses of an interesting, perhaps even admirable, man living with pain of regret and defeat in the pages of this book. It is the ambitious, irascible, sometimes raging military commander who peaks this reader’s interest.”

    This is simply nothing less than a ferocious and totally unfounded attack on Hood’s character and unfortunately reflects very poorly on the reviewer. None of those accusations have any basis in historical evidence. There is not a shred of evidence to substantiate any of those accusations. So let’s be careful not to paint Dr. Emberton as an innocent victim in all of this.

    To be sure, as I mentioned in September, I have some serious problems with the book and hopefully will write a full review of it at some point. Some aspects of the book are actually quite poor. There are a substantial number of issues and a tremendous amount of detail that went totally uncovered, especially during the 1864 Georgia campaign, he missed a litany of important and useful sources, readily cited in other material, he made several serious mistakes in his study especially in his introduction and in the chapter covering the episode at Cassville, on occasion he misquoted other authors, notably but not exclusively Thomas Lawrence Connelly and some of his interpretations, especially with regards to Lee’s statements to Jefferson Davis are very partisan in their analysis. Other aspects of the book are better, but nonetheless it is not a flawless book by any means. If anyone would like to discuss any aspect of the book with me, I would be more than willing.

    Finally, one commenter above, who referred to themselves as a “A Fine Lady Indeed,” highly implied that Mr. Savas is backwards and misogynistic, yet it went with any rebuff on the site. If you want to talk about an unfounded comment……

    Nathan Towne

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Nathan,

      You are certainly entitled to your own assessment of Emberton’s review. To be honest, I don’t really care whether you believe she read the book or not. What I find offensive and highly problematic is that the ceo of the book’s publisher made the accusation without any evidence. Mr. Savas has since apologized for the claim.

      I regret not deleting the referenced comment. An additional one came in yesterday which I did delete.

      Reply
      1. Nathan Towne

        As always, I respect your opinion and I understand your hostility towards the tone that Mr. Savas used in his posts on his blog. It was not my tone however. I did not state that Dr. Emberton did not read the book. Rather, I simply stated that it was a possibility, one of several that I thought of after reading her review at the beginning of November. Whether she read the book in its entirety or not (which she very well may have) is beyond what I can say and frankly it isn’t any of my business. Hence, I never made that accusation anywhere. She is talented historian and I respect her work, I just didn’t find this review helpful about this subject matter and this specific book helpful. I just think that it is important that objection to the substance of her review is not grouped together with any accusations made by other people, which could discredit, by association, those objections. I will leave it at that.

        Again I understand your points with regards to Mr. Savas and didn’t necessarily criticize you at all, aside from (indirectly) with regards to the comment made above by the person that I mentioned.

        Nathan Towne

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Rather, I simply stated that it was a possibility, one of several that I thought of after reading her review at the beginning of November.

          Thanks for the correction and for taking the time to share your thoughts on this subject.

          Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      That’s unfortunate. They should either keep the comment up or get rid of the comments option altogether. I assume the editorial staff is going to consider future options given what transpired.

      Reply
      1. Matthew Hulbert

        Kevin and co.,
        We’re still 100% behind the review and very much appreciate all the support we received from our readers/other reviewers. That being the case, we didn’t intentionally erase the comment section of the Hood review (and have no plans to do so in the future for this review or any other). We’re currently working with our tech support people to figure why they’ve inexplicably “disappeared” and will hopefully have them all back online shortly.
        -M

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Thanks for the update. This is very strange. I’ve use DISQUS in the past and never experienced comments simply disappearing. Good luck.

          Reply
          1. Terry Johnston

            Kevin:

            It is very strange. The comments still appear on our Disqus page — so they weren’t deleted. They’ve just disappeared from the Monitor site, and I have no idea why. Again, we’re currently investigating, with the goal of having all of the comments restored. We’ll keep you and your readers posted.

            Reply
      2. Terry Johnston

        We didn’t remove them. As a matter of fact, a member of our team read these comments and alerted me–that’s how I found out they’re gone. I’m investigating why they’ve disappeared. Thanks for brining it to our attention. Bottom line: we’ll hopefully find a way to restore them. They were never meant to come down.

        Reply
  13. William Houston

    A few late thoughts on this. I am guessing, based on the title of her own book, that Professor Emberton is not a specialist in military history (strategy, tactics, etc.) If this be true, she was an unfortunate choice to review a book so strictly military in nature.

    The professor clearly did not understand that Mr. Hood was not writing a conventional biography and chose to criticize him for not doing so. And she found his criticism of fellow scholars distasteful. This tells us more about her than it does Mr. Hood or his book. Since she was unwilling or unable to analyze the book on its own terms, as did Mr. Towne above, she chose to do what one often sees in book reviews in academic journals. She opined on what she thought the book should be rather than what it is. Turn to any academic journal and you’ll see reviews that are rife with that type of criticism. A good way to pad a review that has little substantive content.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      I’ve said all along that everyone is entitled to their own opinion as to the quality of Emberton’s review. That said, what does this have to do with accusations from the publisher of the book in question that she did not read it?

      Reply
    2. totalitat

      The professor clearly did not understand that Mr. Hood was not writing a conventional biography and chose to criticize him for not doing so

      This point needs to stop. Mr. Hood may have announced that he was not writing a biography, but that doesn’t mean that the reviewer has to agree. A review is supposed to be a careful reading and critique of the work and that includes agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s intent. If it quacks like a duck…

      And no, the reviewer is not required to review the book on “its own terms” if those terms are problematic.

      Reply
      1. William Houston

        “And no, the reviewer is not required to review the book on “its own terms” if those terms are problematic.”

        So you would have no problem with Kevin’s book being criticized by a reviewer for not being a micro-tactical study of the Battle of the Crater when it is clearly intended as a “Memory” study? Kevin, forgive me if I’m in any way mischaracterizing your book, as I have not yet read it.

        Reply
        1. totalitat

          So you would have no problem with Kevin’s book being criticized by a reviewer for not being a micro-tactical study of the Battle of the Crater when it is clearly intended as a “Memory” study?

          So you would have no problem with Kevin actually writing a micro-tactical study of the Battle of the Crater but insisting that it was a memory study and could only be reviewed as such?

          Reply
          1. William Houston

            I have enough respect for Kevin’s intelligence to know that he would not misunderstand the nature of a book that he himself had written. Nor would most authors, I think. This is getting silly so I’ll let you have the last word.

            Reply
            1. totalitat

              And if Kevin insisted he’d written a good book? Should the reviewer take his word for that, too? The point of the review is to evaluate the book critically and that includes evaluating the author’s claims as to what they’re trying to do.

              Reply
  14. Nathan Towne

    Kevin,

    I do hope that at some point in the near future, if you haven’t already, that you deliver a sincere apology to Mr. Savas and Mr. Hood for the ferocious manner in which you lambasted them, the integrity of Savas Beatie Publishing and the monograph the book that they released last year.

    Nathan Towne

    Reply
      1. Nathan Towne

        Kevin,

        It is just that I have seen many of the blog posts now and I can say that you have really made some enemies.

        You can disagree, but for the most part I think that we have always been cordial with one another and speaking only for myself, I clearly respect you as a historian, despite us possibly having had a few small disagreements in the past over certain topics.

        As for this issue however, it seems to me that you really went after them, day after day, with clearly malicious intent, in a way that could effect both of their careers.

        Nathan Towne

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          I guess I had a strong reaction when an acquaintance of mine is accused of being dishonest.

          Having blogged for eight years now I can point to a number of posts that I wish I had not published. This is not one of them.

          Reply

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