New review may stop publication of controversial book
After years of accusations about its authenticity, a new review of the UA Press' best-selling book, "I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus-Earp," will determine whether its publication will continue at the university.
The UA Press, along with the University of Arizona Attorneys Office, is reviewing Arizona writer Glenn Boyer's 1976 book and will cease publication of the book if the university finds it to be fabricated.
"Anytime a book comes up for renewal, you look at how you can make it better," said UA attorney Mike Proctor. "We've been looking at this book for six months to a year."
The book has come under heavy fire by Earp historians since its initial publication.
"I don't see how a university can stand behind a book filled with falsified information and then preach ethics to its students," said Earp historian Casey Tefertiller.
Boyer, who has declined comment in the past, could not be reached for comment.
Tefertiller and other historians have accused Boyer of falsifying large portions of the book, which is derived from two manuscripts.
One of the documents is known as the Cason memoir, written by Josephine Earp, and is not disputed. The other is known as the Clum memoir and has never been seen by anyone besides Boyer.
The UA Press has consistently defended the validity of Boyer's book, even though it hasn't seen the second manuscript.
"There is example after example after example of Boyer's imagination being the source," Tefertiller said. "It's an ungodly transgression."
While many historians are convinced the book is a fabrication, Proctor said the university wants to go over things thoroughly.
"We have to look through all of the documents and talk to the author before making any decision," Proctor said.
While this may be the first step of many, Tefertiller said is a very important one in removing this book from the shelves of history students.
"This has been a slap to the face of ethics," Tefertiller said regarding factual claims of Boyer's book.
Whether the UA reaches the point where it would no longer publish Boyer's book, Tefertiller is concerned whether or not the university will be able to judge the book's legitimacy effectively.
"The university needs to be prepared to know what they are looking for and looking at," said Tefertiller. "Boyer has been known to play the 'shell game.'"
He said Boyer shows some of the information and just hints at the rest.
Proctor said he feels confident the UA will find out the true origins of the book's sourcing, but does not know when a decision will be reached.
"We're just reviewing the whole situation," Proctor said.