Well, a court might be asked to decide that question.
What is clear is that Perlstein, in his new book about the rise of Ronald Reagan’s challenge to Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s, is extremely sloppy (to put it mildly) with attribution. Conservative author Craig Shirley, a superb chronicler of all things Reagan, has built quite a case that Perlstein has pilfered Shirley’s thoughts, research, and sometimes his exact words, all taken from Shirley’s masterful Reagan’s Revolution, which provided a huge number of nuggets of theretofore unreported, behind-the-scenes occurrences during Reagan’s 1976 race for the Republican presidential nomination . Perlstein, though, notes that he did cite Shirley more than 100 times in his “source notes” published at his personal online website. But Shirley provides a fairly large number of examples of material, and often exact (or near-exact) words used by Perlstein, that quite obviously came from Shirley and nobody else, but which not even the online “source notes” credit.
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