Crack IR reviewer Steven Maginnis found three errors in Andrea Hiott’s hardcover book, “Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle,” one typographical, one factual, the third nonsensical.
Before we list them–and list them we will–we want to be clear about why IndieReader publishes this column. Our reasoning is this: once upon a time traditional publishers made sure that the books they sent out into the world were mistake free. These days, when a mistake is as common in our daily reading materials as topless underage girls on spring break, people tend to overlook and forgive them (the mistakes and the girls!).
Why? Because indie authors are rightly criticized, more than most, for not spending enough time on editing. But by not continuing to create a higher standard to aspire to, traditional publishers are doing a disservice both to their readers and to the authors who still desire to be published by them. Simply put, those who work in glass (publishing) houses should not be casting aspersions (or throwing stones).
So…the typographical error is a caption of a picture showing the VW Beetle’s designer, Ferdinand Porsche, in his youth. He’s identified as being in the “far rigiht” of the photo.
The factual error is on page 204, referring to the surrender of Japan in World War II on August 5, 1945 after the droppings of two atomic bombs. The Japanese surrendered on August 14, 1945. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9.
The nonsensical error is . . . well, it’s pretty astonishing. It describes how, when the war was over, there was a variety of languages spoken by the laborers in Wolfsburg: “Russian, French, Polish, Danish, Serbo-Croatian, South African, Mexican, Iranian, Cuban, Turkish, Australian, Swedish, Mexican, Hungarian, and English.”
First of all, the South African language is called Afrikaans. Secondly, the Iranian language is called Farsi. Thirdly, there is no such thing as a “Mexican,” “Cuban,” or “Australian” language (though there are Mexican and Cuban variations of Spanish and an Australian variation of English).
Hiott must have been referring to the ethnicities of the laborers brought to Wolfsburg by the Germans during the war, not their languages. Finally, note that she said “Mexican” twice.
The book was published by Random House/Ballantine Books in New York. Steve notes that he hasn’t finished reading it yet and added, “I might find more mistakes”.
Thx Steve! Everyone else…please send ‘em when you spot ‘em!
Purchase Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle from Amazon