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LETTERS

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Sunday, October 1, 2000; Page X12

The Village People

I am very grateful that Book World chose to review my book, In the Arms of Africa (Aug. 20), but several factual errors and at least two errors in quotation suggest that the review did not receive proper editorial oversight. I list these below, including a quotation attributed to me which, to my knowledge, I never wrote.

Colin Turnbull never received a PhD from Benares; he received a D.Phil from Oxford.

The Mountain People was not Turnbull's second book.

He donated his money to the United Negro College Fund, not the "United Negro Fund."

He became a curator in 1959, not 1958.

Mead never said to Joe Towles, "It is Dr. Mead, if you please." The reviewer fabricated the "if you please." Moreover, I never suggested Mead was opposed to homosexuality. In the sentence following "It is Dr. Mead," I stated that Mead was opposed only to being open about homosexuality at the museum.

Though the essential meaning is correct--Joe Towles did die of AIDS first--I never wrote the sentence, "Turnbull and Joe both died of AIDS, Joe first;" the subsequent sentences are altered as well. The sentences fundamentally alter the tone and feeling of my writing. The sentences following the fabricated quotation may have been taken from an earlier manuscript copy the reviewer obtained, but not from my published book or even the uncorrected proofs.

Turnbull wrote the quoted passage about Africa to Bob Humphrey, his friend and minister, not the undertaker.

I hope that other authors like myself, who have worked so hard and long on their books, can receive more careful attention both from the reviewers and editors of Book World.

ROY RICHARD GRINKER

George Washington University

We welcome letters. Send them--no more than 200 words, please--along with your full name, address and telephone (we will not publish the last two) to bwletters@washpost.com or to Book World Editor, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

2000 The Washington Post Company






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