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'The Jefferson Lies' is recalled by publisher Thomas Nelson

'The Jefferson Lies' by David Barton was intended as a myth-busting biography of Thomas Jefferson, but publisher Thomas Nelson says it has received numerous reports of factual errors in the book.

By Staff Writer / August 13, 2012

The publisher, Thomas Nelson, said the history in 'The Jefferson Lies' – a book by a leading evangelical intended to counter images of Jefferson as a 'racist' and 'anti-Christian secularist' – was not 'adequately supported.'


The book “The Jefferson Lies” by author David Barton has been recalled by publishers after numerous complaints of historical inaccuracies.

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Barton, who was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelical people, promoted the book as clearing up numerous myths about one of America’s founding fathers.

“History books routinely teach that Jefferson was an anti-Christian secularist, rewriting the Bible to his liking, fathering a child with one of his slaves, and little more than another racist, bigoted colonist – but none of those claims are actually true,” the press release for the book read.

The publisher, Thomas Nelson, said in a statement that it had received complaints from numerous readers that there were factual errors in the book, which reached the New York Times bestseller list in May.

“We took all of those concerns seriously [and] learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported,” said the publisher, which focuses on releasing Christian-based titles.

Barton told the newspaper the Tennessean that he had little warning of the situation.

“All I got was an email saying it was canceled,” Barton said. “It was a complete surprise.”

Barton co-founded and currently serves as president for an organization called WallBuilders, which is a “pro-family organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage” as stated on its website.

A writer and professor, Warren Throckmorton, co-wrote a book titled “Getting Jefferson Right” that criticized Barton’s version of events in “The Jefferson Lies.” Throckmorton told the Tennessean that one of Barton’s errors lay in his description of Jefferson’s attitude toward slaves. Barton wrote that Jefferson never freed any of his slaves, said Throckmorton. Throckmorton says Jefferson freed two of them.

Barton says that’s incorrect.

“This is one of the cases where he is just nuts,” he said of Throckmorton.

Others who asked Thomas Nelson to investigate factual inaccuracies in the book included several ministers from Ohio.


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