Roosevelt and Hopkins: When Censorship Is Good
In reading dozens of books about World War II, I kept coming across references to a ghostly figure named Harry Hopkins. He had no official title, yet his fingerprints were everywhere. It reached a point where I came to understand Hopkins was — unbelievably — a kind of shadow co-president with Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I knew the definitive account was Robert E. Sherwood’s “Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History” published in 1949 and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize the following year.
I downloaded it onto my Kindle and was blown away.
The Amazon Censors
The review ran for a short time, whereupon the title disappeared from Kindle along with my review. I was stunned. I absolutely believe it is the most important book I ever read.
Why would the Amazon censors strike?
Note: I tried to reach someone in authority at Amazon, but they are all hiding under digital rocks. My theory of what happened:
Below is the last paragraph of my review.
“NOTE: I ordered this on Kindle. It was scanned but not edited. It is filled with typos and occasional gibberish. Do not be deterred. Soldier on. Next to Roosevelt and Hopkins, Obama and Jarrett are a joke.”
With all these typos and errors, this was the work of an amateur. No self-respecting publisher would allow this gobbledygook in the text. Nor would a Robert E. Sherwood family member permit these errors.
Chances are the book was scanned and sent in for Kindle publication by a petty thief — who disregarded U.S. Copyright Laws — and was on the hunt for free royalty money.
About Copyright — A Lightning Fast Digression
You are invited to check out my 2007 story of Kessinger Publishing of Whitefish, Montana. This husband and wife team is in the business of stealing works in copyright and hoping nobody will notice. In this case they stole my father’s biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Kessingers’ pirated edition is still being offered for sale on the Internet.
It takes 13 seconds to find out if a title protected by copyright.
- Google “Copyright Renewal”
- Click on Copyright Renewal Database: Welcome
- Click on “Simple Search”
- In this case I typed in “Roosevelt and Hopkins.” The following appeared:
Title: Roosevelt and Hopkins; an intimate history NM: foreword, additions & revisions
Author: Robert E. Sherwood [1896-1955]
Registration Date: 15 Mar 50
Renewal Date: 3 Apr 77
Registration Number: A41914
Renewal ld: R660854
Renewing Entity: Madeline Sherwood
(Mrs. Robert E. Sherwood) (W)
(Boldface above by DH)
Elapsed time of search: less than 13 seconds.
By renewing in that specific time window, Madeline Hurlock Sherwood (1899-1989) guaranteed the “Roosevelt and Hopkins” copyright will be in force until 2045 (95 years from date of original copyright).
Amazon the Enabler
By publishing this mucked-up edition of “Roosevelt and Hopkins” without first checking if the person making the submission owned the rights or had permission of the copyright holder, Amazon abetted the theft.
Shame on Amazon.
At the same time, the last paragraph of my review — screaming “typos!” and “gibberish!” — must have alerted Amazon officialdom who took action and scrapped the entire project.
Kudos to Amazon.
Takeaways to Consider:
- I am deeply sorry this happened. In my opinion this is a hugely important book. It directly relates to America in the world today. I believe every politician and every voter should read “Roosevelt and Hopkins” for an understanding about how government should work and how America can be saved from the do-nothing, hate-mongering political class.
- If any reader knows a grandchild — or great-grandchild — of author Robert E. Sherwood or members of Edgar Stillman, Jr. family, email me: email@example.com.
- This book is too important to simply let die of neglect.
- Meanwhile, any work in public domain (expired copyright) is free for the taking — words, designs, music, songs or software.
- Any creative work under copyright that can be digitized can be instantly reproduced and sold anonymously all over the world.
- Every creator of intellectual property is at risk.
- WWW stands for Wild West Web.
Denny Hatch is marketing consultant, copywriter and designer. The author of four novels and 7 business books, his newest is “Write Everything Right!”
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Denny can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org • www.dennyhatch.com