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Historian Ambrose Explains Attribution Errors in Books

February 01, 2002|Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Historian Stephen Ambrose said Thursday night that he made mistakes in not using quotation marks around sentences that came from other books but said his footnotes adequately attribute the sentences.

At least six books by Ambrose have been questioned for errors or alleged plagiarism.

The author made the comments before a speech Thursday night in Powell Symphony Hall before a capacity crowd of 2,100. The speech was sponsored by Maryville University.

"There are something like six or seven sentences in like three or four of my books that are sentences from other writers," Ambrose said. "I know they are, and reporters know they are, and now the whole world knows they are because I put footnotes behind those sentences. What I failed to do--and this was my mistake--was put quotation marks around them."

Many of Ambrose's peers consider the footnotes inadequate. Ambrose also has blamed his quick pace for the errors.

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