This morning I received an email from the president of Fonthill Media threatening me with legal action because of my blog post about Phillip Thomas Tucker’s book Blacks in Gray Uniforms (America Through Time Publishers).
The initial email failed to point out anything specific that was problematic in the post, but the author made it very clear: “…I cannot allow you to do damage to my commercial trading without redress. I invite you to desist, if you do not I will immediately request our attorney to commence action against you on the basis of damage to corporate reputation.”
In a follow up email the publisher noted that I had inaccurately described the relationship between America Through Time and History Press/Arcadia. I immediately amended the post. This was not a problem at all since my only concern is the content of Tucker’s book. I was also warned about a potential copyright violation for including an image of a page from the book in the post. Not wanting to quibble I chose to remove it along with the image of the book cover. Again, it did not in any way detract from my focus in the post.
The publisher assumes that my motivation for the post was the result of having been passed over for Tucker. I assured him that this was not the case and that my own scholarship on this very subject is safely in the hands of a well-respected academic publisher.
In the end I will defend every word of the blog post. This individual will never understand my interest in this subject as a historian and educator and why I remain so vigilant about pointing out where history becomes fantasy. As I noted before, I would not care so much about this specific title, but for the fact that the author highlights his PhD in history. This is certainly going to be leveraged as a reason to take this book seriously.
However, if you are going to bill yourself as a serious academic historian than you should be held to those standards. And that is what I plan to continue to do.