Saturday, November 26, 2011

Eating crow

Ah, the joys of writing! No matter how hard you try, errors inevitably creep into your work. It's dishearteningly easy to make dumb mistakes, and even if you catch them, your edits don't always make it into the published book. My copy of
An Archaeology of Desperation has become a correction copy, with penciled notes scattered here and there throughout my contributions to the book. So you dedicated Donner fanatics can make the following changes to your copies:

p. 8, Figure 1.1: The symbol representing Mary Blue, George Donner's first wife, is defined as "female, divorced"; it should be "female, deceased." This error I deny having made -- evidently it's the result of a miscommunication somewhere along the line -- but it's attributed to me, so I'll correct it.

p. 20, Table 1.1: Sarah Keyes should not be listed.
p. 33: The Donner Party "parted from the other emigrants to Fort Bridger to rendezvous with Hastings"; this gibberish should read "parted from the other emigrants to rendezvous with Hastings at Fort Bridger."
p. 39: "Dorothea Wolfinger, about twenty" should be "about twenty-nine."
p. 56: Jacob Donner's family left Springfield "in April 1847" (tch!) should be, of course, "in April 1846."
p. 57: "in utero" should be italicized.
p. 63: the Fourth Relief left the cabins "on April 17, 1847" should be "on April 21, 1847."
p. 299: "the last three months of 1847" should be "the last months of 1847."

There are no doubt more goofs I haven't noticed yet, and I'd change a lot of other things if I could; I had to leave out many details for lack of space, for instance, and admit I could have worded some passages better. In addition, the editorial staff at the U of OK Press did some tinkering with the citations and bibliography that I don't necessarily agree with. It's possible that the other contributors may have corrections, too, I don't know. But hey, the book is out at last; it is what it is.

So there you have it -- I'm taking my lumps in advance of any reviewer's criticisms. Remember, you read it here first!