Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deleted Scenes

Praise from a Future Generation, my 2007 book about the first generation critics of the Warren Report, is due as an e-book this fall. I’ve spent part of this summer making a series of mostly tiny corrections to it.

Since its publication, I've only looked at portions of the book. But now, as I slog through it cover-to-cover, I have chanced upon a deletion I was not previously aware of.

It is, admittedly, a rather inconsequential deletion. It was made in Chapter 20, “The Meeting.” The original manuscript has a paragraph or so describing how an early critic named Lillian Castellano telephoned Sylvia Meagher on October 3, 1965, just as a meeting of some East Coast critics got underway in Sylvia’s apartment. “It was quite a coincidence you should have called,” Sylvia said in a letter to Lillian a few days later.

That paragraph is not in the book. When I read the published version recently I didn't even notice right away; I only noticed when spot-checking the end notes. The citation for the Meagher quote above is still there!

Why the publisher chose to make the deletion in the first place is a mystery. I see no good reason for the cut. What it saves in word-count is negligible. Naturally, this discovery has me wondering what else might have been deleted that I never noticed.

If you read my book, you're already in a tiny minority. If you read my book and this blog, you're in an even tinier minority! I don't plan to lobby for any restorations in the e-book. But I would like to at least make a record of the deletion, even if only a handful of people see it.

The deleted material should have been on page 254. (The undeleted citation, erroneously entered as note 27, is on page 526.) Here's a .jpg file of the manuscript:

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