Publisher delays US release of new Naomi Wolf book after findings questioned
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Publisher delays US release of new Naomi Wolf book after findings questioned

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt asks that copies of ‘Outrages’ already sent to retailers be returned; author says she made necessary changes

In this photo fro  March 29, 2012, author and political consultant Naomi Wolf speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
In this photo fro March 29, 2012, author and political consultant Naomi Wolf speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — Naomi Wolf’s US publisher is postponing the release of her new book, “Outrages,” after a BBC interviewer challenged some of her findings. Wolf is openly objecting to the delay.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced that “new questions” had come up about “Outrages,” originally scheduled to come out next week. It has already been published in the United Kingdom.

“As we have been working with Naomi Wolf to make corrections to ‘Outrages,’ new questions have arisen that require more time to explore, according to a statement from the publisher. “We are postponing publication and requesting that all copies be returned from retail accounts while we work to resolve those questions.”

Wolf’s promotional tour for the US release also has been pushed back.

Naomi Wolf’s 2019 book ‘Outrages’

Last month, BBC interviewer Matthew Sweet questioned Wolf’s research on the book, which centers on the mistreatment of gays in Victorian England.

Some historians say the author misinterpreted legal terminology, and thus made a false assessment that dozens of men were executed in Victorian England for sodomy.

Sweet charged that there was no historical evidence to suggest that anybody had been executed for sodomy during the Victorian era and suggested that Wolf had misinterpreted the term “death recorded,” assuming it to mean that convicts were put to death.

In fact, said Sweet, “death recorded” meant the sentence was documented, but not carried out.

On Friday, Wolf tweeted that she made what she thought were the needed changes and that she believed her book’s core findings remained valid. “I strongly objected to this decision,” she wrote.

Wolf, known for such best-sellers “The Beauty Myth” and “Misconceptions,” has often faced questions about accuracy in her work. In “The Beauty Myth,” for instance, she wrote that anorexia was responsible for the deaths of 150,000 women a year, a number many experts disputed as highly inflated. A recent New York Times review was headlined “Naomi Wolf’s Career of Blunders Continues in ‘Outrages.'”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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