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Gerhard Rohringer writes from Santa Barbara, California, on Thursday, July 11, 2002



How accurate is a Penguin?

WE all know about your struggle with Penguin Books and their and Prof. Evans' claim of historical and other inaccuracies in your books. But Penguin is guilty of historical inaccuracies as well.

I just purchased The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich for which the name of a Richard Overy appears on the title page.

I checked pages 102 and 103 which deal with the "Impact of Bombing". There is a map which shows which cities were bombed. And wouldn't you know it: My home town of Linz is shown as NOT bombed. And yet several thousand civilians died there in US bombing raids, including a school-class of 35 children. The damage to civilian housing was very extensive.

Now this is certainly an error. If its not an error then it is an intentional understatement of civilian damages inflicted by the Allies.

Nor is this an isolated error. Vienna is also shown as not having been bombed! The town of Wiener Neustadt which was bombed very heavily in WWII is not even on the map. Nor are Wels or Innsbruck or Bregenz listed as targets.

Should one now not raise the question: If checking just one page reveals such errors how many more will be found by going over the work with a fine toothed comb and with an intimate knowledge of the subject matter? How reliable is what we read in this historical atlas?

Gerhard Rohringer


  Penguin's Atlas of the Third Reich (ed: Richard Overy) is full of howlers, says Gerhard Rohringer | William Blair suggests the errors follow a conformist pattern | Both readers spot still more howlers in the Atlas | Max Hastings gave the true data for air raid deaths in Germany

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