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Antiques dealer sues Alamo book – ARTnews.com

Alexander McDuffie, a Texas-based antiquities dealer, and Joseph Musso, an artist and historian, are suing the authors of a book on the Alamo for suggesting faking artifacts and inflating their prices.

The authors of Forget Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth I’m Bryan Burrough, a journalist for Vanity Fair; Chris Tomlinson, columnist for The Houston Chronicle; and Jason Stanford, political consultant and communications officer. Penguin Random House and the newspaper Texas Monthly they were also named defendants.

Forget the Alamo talks about the origins of the legend of the battle of the Alamo, the ways in which history was altered and distorted during the Jim Crow era, and how revisionists tried to set the record straight about the real events concerning this myth of Texan origin .

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“The plaintiffs in this case made a mistake: They trusted a reporter who came to them asking about a topic they have a good deal of passion and expertise on: authenticating artifacts that may have a connection to the Texas revolution and the battle of the Alamo “, reads the complaint. “Although that reporter promised that he would leave the project before allowing his co-authors to say anything negative about the plaintiffs or their work, the book that was eventually published … contained misrepresentations, misprints and significant omissions. “.

Plaintiffs’ attorney, Melynda Nuss, said she and her clients were currently unable to comment.

Throughout the book, the authors have included a section on battle memorabilia, and this is where McDuffie and Musso came in as resident experts on artifacts from that era.

The book was released on June 8, 2021. Before the book was published, Texas Monthly published an excerpt with the title “Come and Fake It?” when it appeared in print. McDuffie allegedly filed corrections requests to Dan Goodgame, the story’s editor, but the lawsuit claims McDuffie was dissatisfied with the corrections Goodgame was willing to make. The article was eventually updated to include many corrections.

The book and article would have suggested that McDuffie might have added an inscription to a knife that might have belonged to William Barrett Travis, a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army, and who had a strong relationship with Alfred Van Fossen, a merchant. of antiquities with a reputation for selling questionable artifacts.

“Indeed,” the complaint states, “Van Fossen ended their relationship by stealing a painting from McDuffie and selling it.”

Dan Goodgame, the editor of Texas Monthly, believes that it has made sufficient corrections.

“Before publishing a large excerpt from a new book, Forget the AlamoTexas Monthly carefully checked the facts in that excerpt, “wrote Goodgame in an e-mailed statement.” After publishing it, Alex McDuffie and Joseph Musso told us about several passages that they considered inaccurate or unfair. research, we have corrected some factual errors in the excerpt and allowed plaintiffs to express more views on other contentious issues. We have conducted our work carefully and fairly and intend to take this case to court. “

The complaint alleges that the book severely damaged McDuffie’s business. According to the lawsuit, McDuffie was earning $ 150,000 a year before the book came out. In the year following its release, he earned $ 98,000.

Musso is not a trader and therefore has not suffered damages for any activity, but the lawsuit claims that his character has been questioned due to the extract.

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