Letters to the Editor

The Last Word

Francis R. Nicosia, February 1991

I am surprised that the director of the University of Texas Press, John H. Kyle, questions (Perspectives, "Letters," May/June 1990) the veracity of my article in Perspectives ("Scholars and Publishers: A New Twist to an Old Story?" March 1990). It is based entirely on information and explanations provided to me by the UT Press which I have always assumed to be true.

Mr. Kyle also questions the judgement of the AHA for publishing my article. I filed a formal complaint against Texas with the Professional Division of the AHA. I supported it with a large amount of documentation, most of which was supplied to me by the UT Press. The Press had the same opportunity to present its position to the AHA. In its judgement of October 27, 1989, the Professional Division invited me to publish my account of the affair in Perspectives.

I am naturally curious about any evidence that Mr. Kyle is prepared to give to a visiting scholar and scholarly publisher. Is there further information of which the AHA, the scholarly community, and I are still unaware, which refutes my account and, in the process, contradicts the information the UT Press has given me thus far?

The fact remains that the UT Press initially approved of and offered to sign a contract with the Druffel-Verlag. It failed to inform me of its contacts with Druffel, to educate itself about Druffel, to deal with its British partner I.B. Tauris, and it refused to protect its copyright to my book. As a result of this irresponsible and unprofessional behavior, the Druffel edition of my book remains on the German market. It is possible that profits from my book are supporting a repugnant political agenda in Germany.

Early this year, Texas made the outrageous offer that I receive all of the Texas/Tauris profits from the sale of the German rights to Druffel. Clearly Mr. Kyle still does not understand the problem. I have refused to accept the money. Instead, I have made arrangements to donate the money—should I in fact ever see it—to a foundation in Berlin that supports memorials in Germany to Jewish and other victims of Nazi mass murder. I am also in touch with a lawyer in Germany about possible legal action against the Druffel Verlag. This, of course, should be the responsibility of the UT Press.

Finally, it was not my intention to criticize all publishers. Most of my colleagues have been treated in a courteous and professional manner by their publishers. To my surprise, however, a disconcertingly large number have had experiences not entirely unlike mine.

Francis R. Nicosia
Associate Professor
Saint Michael's College, Vermont