Topics in this study will appear over time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

That Fiend in Hell: Unscholarly and biased?

Demand Evidence - Think Critically
I made this inspiring poster long ago for myself

(Click image to enlarge)

Throughout That Fiend in Hell, author Cathy Spude assails my research as unscholarly and biased. On page 191 the author writes,
As is evident from Jeff Smith’s biography, these stories no doubt emphasized Soapy’s good works and were soft on the more cruel or iniquitous aspects of the gambler’s behavior. 
It is such comments that make me continue to question if she has even read my book. The fact is, as of 2009 Alias Soapy Smith includes all known “… cruel or iniquitous aspects of the gambler’s behavior.” 

I began writing Alias Soapy Smith over 25-years ago with the full intent of not publishing a biased or white-washed biography. In handing over my manuscript to my publisher at Klondike Research, I required that he check for any evidence of bias or white wash. He did so, and in turn, he tasked his staff with the same chore along with their regular duties. A few questionable instances were found, brought to my attention, and revised by me to achieve a balanced presentation based on evidence available to me at the time. The following comes from the book preface. 
It is important to me for the reader to understand that although I am related to the subject of this book, I do not pretend to believe Soapy was “a good guy” or someone to be admired. I would be untruthful were I to say it is not fun being a descendant of an Old West bad man. The little moments of celebrity are enjoyed. But my primary interest has been the history of Soapy Smith. I am not proud of what he did but rather of what he left behind, an outsized history of a complex character at the center of often rough frontier times. No attempt has been made to mask his crimes. As my father used to tell me, “Jeff, he’s more interesting that way,” how he really was—his charities, crimes, all. (—Alias Soapy Smith, p. 5)