I haven't chimed in on the "plagiarism" charges against Rick Perlstein's new book, The Invisible Bridge because my copy hasn't arrived yet. Hurry up, UPS. The reason I put the P word in quotes is that the charges by conservative historian/activist Craig Shirley are absurd: he's thanked in the book and cited in the footnotes. But horrors: they're on the interweb instead of making a very long hardback even thicker. Digby wrote a fine post about the virtues of this so I won't go into it here.
The charge that bugs me the most about this book and Nixonland is that Perlstein is an "aggregator" like Satan's Botoxed Handmaiden. To begin with, he has done some original research but what Perlstein really does is write INTERPRETIVE HISTORY, which is a venerable and honorable method. His books remind me of the work of Garry Wills, especially The Kennedy Imprisonment, Nixon Agonistes, and Reagan's America. Like Wills, Perlstein looks at the accepted or disputed facts, synthesizes and interprets them. That's not aggregating, it's awesome. I know that was lame but what can I say? I spent way too much time on Twitter last night battling the forces of malakatude.
Finally, there's an excerpt of The Invisble Bridge at TPM. It's well worth a look and a read.
That is all.