Friday, February 09, 2007

Amazon PARC Review

I published a brief review of PARC on Amazon.com. James Valliant responded.

Jim's first point is that because the Remington-Rand typewriter story cannot be true, Barbara Branden must be lying about having heard it from Rand. This is a non sequitur. First, Rand could have lied, telling Branden that Fern Brown's story was true. As I point out, archivists at the ARI believed until recently that Rand's own statement about her name was a "red herring" to protect her family in Russia. In other words, they believed that Rand told at least one lie about her name. I doubt this, but it can't be ruled out. Second, it's possible that Rand inadvertently said something supporting Fern Brown's account. Third, it's possible that Branden has mistakenly remembered something Rand said as supporting Brown's story. Valliant and his side-kick Casey Fahy are quick to accuse people of lying (Fahy claims my review is "dishonest") but I'm willing to believe that Branden has made an honest mistake.

In response to my claim that Valliant mischaracterizes PAR with respect to the Blumenthals, Jim's response is . . . well, he doesn't respond. He claims that Branden has falsely grouped all of the breaks in the same category. I don't believe this is true, for the reasons I mention. However, note that Valliant has misrepresented PAR concerning the Blumenthal's break with Rand. Let's (again) look at what Valliant says in PARC:

"One would never have guessed it from reading Ms. Branden's book, but it was they [the Blumenthals and Holzer] who left Rand." (PARC, p. 75.)

However, Branden quotes Allan Blumenthal "I telephoned Ayn and said we no longer wished to see her." (PAR, p. 388.)

I encourage people to read my review and look at Valliant's responses.