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Old 01-04-2004, 01:29 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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John Vasco
Re: Footnotes & source notes
Sat Dec 13 20:29:40 2003
195.92.67.70

It looks like I've made a balls, then, of everything I've done up to present!
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2004, 01:30 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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Richard T. Eger
Re.: Footnotes: an alternative view
Sat Dec 13 21:54:29 2003
162.33.246.72

Dear John,

For the sake of comment, I've reproduced your posting below.

It appears that your books are, in part, supported by presentation of the actual documents in the appendices, which saves the reader trouble in chasing them down.

But, from what you say, you also take snippets from other sources without noting what these are. So, my various comments then apply to these. Lacking the source of the information, the reader must assume that you know your stuff. But, even then, when you quote the works of others, actually not quote but include, you run the risk of duplicating any errors they may have made and leave yourself no out as to these errors. Had you noted the sources, then, at least, if they were in error, the error could be passed back.

I would think that, in the main, errors tend to be subtle, pretty indistinguishable from that that is true. Thus, if much of the book is correct, but a small percentage is in error, the work, as a whole, will be assumed to be correct. Then, the next author quotes your work for its scholarly demeaner and repeats the error. I'm sure we've all seen this game of "telephone history".

The book I cited regarding the errors relating to the aeronautical equipment had just the opposite effect. Most of the book dealt with the history of ATI and, for all I know, may have been correct. But the gross errors in telling about the equipment made the whole book suspect. Thus, in this case, the good gets tossed out with the bad. But, as I said, the book has a saving grace: its reference notes. With diligence, it would be possible to attempt to reconstruct the book from its references, thus providing an accurate picture. Without these, it just makes for interesting reading, but not much more.

Anyway, take these comments for what value you find in them.

Regards,
Richard

"John Vasco
Footnotes: an alternative view
Fri Dec 12 14:41:37 2003
195.92.67.68

The books that I have written, or co-written, do not have a single footnote. The reason for this is that if further information needs to be known by the reader, it is there with them at that moment of reading, not at the bottom of the page/end of chapter/end of book. So, in 'Bombsights', I may state what pilots like Aretz and Beudel were doing on particular days in the body of the text, with their Flugbuch entries as a separate entity in an appendix. Saves the reader from flicking back and forth all the time. That kind of thing has always bloody annoyed me! Also, quoting a tiny piece from another work in a proper context is not breach of copyright, so there is no harm in doing so.

I now expect to be completely taken apart on this one!!!


John Vasco"
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Old 01-04-2004, 01:31 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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John Vasco
Re: Re.: Footnotes: an alternative view
Sat Dec 13 23:24:38 2003
195.92.67.67

Richard,

You are correct in everything you have written. However, I will add one qualifying comment. There are certain sources from which I drew information (and subsequently used) that I was not able to quote. The reason for this is on the grounds of confidentiality.

There is other information that I received that I elected not to use on the grounds of sensitivity, and also on the grounds of not wishing to sensationalise something.

Hope this clarifies things to some degree, but I still accept that I am guilty to some degree of not quoting all sources.


John Vasco
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Old 01-04-2004, 01:31 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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Richard T. Eger
Footnotes: The gray areas
Sun Dec 14 00:42:13 2003
162.33.247.213

Dear John,

I agree that authors do face a delimma when a source does not wish to be quoted. Saying that you have the data from a reputable source sounds coy, so you are really caught in the middle.

Another gray area is in the use of archive material. Some archives want a king's ransom for the author to be allowed to use their material directly, such as a photo, even though the author, in general, at best, breaks even or makes a very small amount on his book. For some reason, the government beaurocracy may see their holdings as a way to generate operating income, rather than as the more appropriate view of the furtherance of the educating of humanity on various aspects of history. I strongly suspect that the reason some authors fail to give references or give only a list of references in the rear of their books unconnected to the text and photos within the book is to avoid having to deal with this problem. As has been said before, if authors in our field of interest thought of earning a living through writing of history, they'd likely starve to death, with a very few rare exceptions.

Regards,
Richard
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Old 01-04-2004, 01:32 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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Hawk-Eye
"Errors tend to be subtle"
Sun Dec 14 00:07:34 2003
195.93.65.13

Not always! For example some people - admittedly no recognized aviation experts - still today publish "historical" books in which they claim that the Luftwaffe engaged 15,500 (combat) aircraft in May 1940 as compqared to the real 3,500. I don't find this error really subtle.

Others print and claim on TV that the LW 1940 "systematically bombed all Dutch cities", which is nonsense - not because the nazis were nice but it's simply not true, they had other concerns and targets (it wasn't even true in the USSR). Not very subtle!

And even here on this forum most "experts" consider all victories won by Mölders, Wick, Galland, Balthasar etc. to have been won over England - in fact 15-25 victories were won before, during the Phnoney War (Sept. 39- May 40)and in the French Campaign, by each of them, leaving approx. 25 victories won over England. So most people, including book authors, ignore a whole campaign of WW II entirely (the 1940 French Campaign, which involved no less than 5 belligerents, of which 3 were major powers, the 2 others NOT being negligible (Belgium, NL) although a grand total of approx. 4,000 aircraft from all countries were lost in combat, mainly within 5 weeks (five), as compared to the BoB's grand total of approx. 3,100 in 13 (thirteen) weeks.

Is this kind of errors subtle too? I find them enormous, massive, incredible errors. There are many others. For example a few days ago a French TV network broadcast a "wonderful" program, directed by a famous "expert" (who is completely unserious) of 1 hr 30 minutes on the whole history of aviation - with almost nothing on WW II but they said that the Allied bombing of Germany killed more than 2 million civilians. For many years ALL GERMAN SOURCES say approx. half a million (there are some reasons for this : partial evacuation of big cities, shelters etc.).

So even 60 years later some so-called "experts" make such "subtle" errors : over 2 million dead German civilians instead of 1/2 million. You can be sure that many "historians" are going to include these reliable figures into their forthcoming books : Mr. X said it, it has to be true!
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Old 01-04-2004, 01:33 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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Richard T. Eger
Re. Subtle errors
Sun Dec 14 00:57:51 2003
162.33.247.213

Dear Hawk-Eye,

I agree, some are not subtle. But, those that are, can be hard to detect. Or, if you simply aren't knowledgeable about the subject, i.e., pretty much unplowed ground, then you can get away with errors being repeated over and over again, such as in cutaway isometric views of aircraft. William Green, in his "Warplanes of the Third Reich", promulgated some real whoppers but, at the time, he was plowing new ground and could thus get away with it. Then, in turn, his work gets quoted by others, furthering the problem. Don't get me wrong about Green - I grew up on his and Nowarra's works. At the time, they were like gold to me. But, times change. New information gets discovered and old myths die, some very, very slowly.

As for TV "documentaries", these are like the cesspools of history. Think about it. Whose putting them together? They are lucky if they can get a real expert to be on them and then the guy has to hold his nose so he can collect his fee. The footage can be helpful, although, by now, I've seen Me 262 footage so often repeated that there is hardly anything new in any of them, yet they keep churning them out. I remember one where they pretended to be preparing the Cosford bird for flight. Like a fantasy film, you just had to ignore reality to enjoy it in any manner whatsoever. In another, the drawings of the Me 262's had been prepared on another planet. You'll have this narator in a deep, sonerous voice tell us quite seriously about something of which he has no knowledge and, for all we know, is claptrap. And, if you are up on your subject, the claptrap gets pretty obvious. So, yes in TV "documentaries" the errors are anything but subtle.

Regards,
Richard
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Old 01-04-2004, 01:34 PM
Richard T Eger Richard T Eger is offline
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From TOCH!:

Ed West
A few thoughts
Sun Dec 14 20:10:59 2003
64.7.186.149

I have read everyone's comments, and with understandable emotion, your's Hawk-Eye. These fascinating bits of very important information (at least to the serious historian) need to be preserved in some way. I don't think any one person should do it, but at least those who can cite appropriate references should.

Now at this point, I would also like to add: STOP THIS INCESSANT BICKERING and create a place on-line to put all of the corrections related to the books, magazines, TV programs and so on. Complaining to those responsible, in my view, is not the answer. Just do it, before this thread disappears into some electronic limbo and the lot of us will be doomed to revisit it for eternity. Or at least more often than most of us would like.

Honestly, Gents. A book would be great (possible title: Corrections to Myths, Errors and Nonsense about the German Air Force, 1939-1945), but expensive. My possible book title could be the heading for a specialized site where everyone could add their bit and have done with it. At least this information would be preserved for posterity and in a place where it could be of some use to all. And lastly, if the aviation experts here don't do it, who will?

My two cents. (Please excuse the brief rant.)

Best regards,
Ed
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