Ben Urwand’s recent Harvard University Press book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, has generated considerable media attention, both positive and critical: reviews and notices have appeared in Tablet Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, to name just a few. We at Harvard University Press welcome this engaged discussion of a complex and controversial topic, and indeed consider such conversations central to our mission.
At the same time, we wish to address specific concerns raised by David Denby at the New Yorker’s Culture Desk blog. Writing on the book for a second time, Denby suggested that Harvard University Press’s vetting process was flawed or insufficient. In fact, Urwand’s book underwent a rigorous review process, in this case having been read by five scholars in various disciplines. We stand by the integrity of our refereeing and editorial procedures. A thorough review process is standard at Harvard, where we take very seriously the imprimatur of the University’s name. Though not all reviewers agree with Urwand’s interpretation of the actions he describes, nearly 60 pages of notes and documentation enable readers to judge for themselves the strength and validity of his presentation.
Via his agent Urwand has responded to Denby and the New Yorker, but as yet we have no indication that his response has been published.
Update: The full text of Ben Urwand’s letter to the New Yorker—a shortened version of which appears in the October 7th edition of the magazine—is below.