Saturday, December 17, 2011

By Far the Best Typo of 2011

I have been reading Craig Shirley's new book, December 1941:  31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 2011), which is a fascinating account of the days before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.

The book is fascinating (and informative) in spite of numerous errors that are the result of inadequate editing -- errors of fact, anachronisms, and simple typos riddle the text.

Yet, of all the mistakes I have noted while reading the book, the best typographical error by far has to be one that occurs on page 169, in the chapter on "The Eighth of December."  This has to be, perhaps, one of the most ironic typos of all time.

In describing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's preparations for his historic speech before Congress asking for a formal declaration of war against Japan, Shirley writes:

Reading the president's original manuscript of his address revealed the sheer power of words.  He initially wrote December 7, 1941, would be a day that would live in "history," but he later crossed out that word, inserted a proofreader's carrot, and scribbled "infamy."
Yes, you read that right:  "proofreader's carrot."

Shirley meant to say "caret."

Just to be clear, this is a proofreader's caret:

 And this is a carrot:

To add to the mix, a few pages later (p. 173), Shirley ends a paragraph about new rules and regulations in reaction to the new state of war with this sentence:

It was unclear how the new edits from Washington would affect second generation Japanese Americans, known as "Nisei."
If that was unclear, one thing is definitely clear:  Craig Shirley, or Thomas Nelson Publishers, needs a new copy "edictor."

Look soon for a full review of December 1941 on my companion blog, Book Reviews by Rick Sincere, where there already is a review of a similar new book by Stanley Weintraub called Pearl Harbor Christmas.

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