First the Book-of-the-Month Club uncritically promoted John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope as if the thesis were undisputed, and now they’re at it again doing the same for James Carroll’s Constantine’s Sword. The September catalog describes Carroll as “confronting the Catholic Church’s historical hatred of Jews from the gospels to the church’s silence during the Holocaust.”
Another bookseller, the Internet company called Book Closeouts, is hawking Hitler’s Pope in the same fashion. It says Cornwell “shows that, even before the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII was instrumental in negotiating an accord that helped the Nazis rise to unhindered power—and sealed the fate of the Jews.”
Both booksellers are irresponsible. Whenever a controversial book is written, those involved in marketing usually make mention of its controversial nature. What they don’t do is present a quarrelsome thesis as if it were gospel. And what is particularly galling about this issue is that both books have been taken apart by many informed reviewers for their historical misrepresentations.
We encourage all members to write to those responsible for these irresponsible ads. Write to William Byrnes, Book-of-the-Month Club, P.O. Box 6400, Indianapolis, IN 46206 and to Bill Vanvliet, Book Closeouts, 340 Welland Avenue, St. Catharines, ON, CAN L2R 7LP (overseas postage required—60 cents).