After issuing dozens of corrections to high-profile book, historian shuts down his blog

Charles Armstrong

A historian has shuttered his personal blog, which he created to respond to critics of his high-profile book.

Columbia University professor Charles Armstrong launched the blog in order to address the criticisms of his book about North Korea during the Cold War. Soon after Tyranny of the Weak appeared, Balazs Szalontai of Korea University uploaded a series of what he called “noteworthy problems” with the book — mostly allegations of including either irrelevant or non-existent sources to support Armstrong’s claims. In the end of 2016, Armstrong announced on his blog that he was going to issue dozens of corrections to the book, which won the John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History in 2014.

The book has now been re-published; as such, Armstrong told Retraction Watch he sees no need to maintain the blog further:

I set up the blog in the first place in order to respond to the critics of the book. My ultimate response, however, is the corrected edition of the book itself, which was published in July 2017. At the moment I have neither the time nor the inclination to maintain a blog. If readers have any further questions about my book or any other of my publications, they are welcome to email me directly…

However, to Szalontai, the discussion about the book isn’t over:

I have purchased a copy, and found out that the “corrected” edition still includes over 20 cases of plagiarism and source fabrication…

Last year, Armstrong returned the Fairbank Prize he earned for the book.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there’s a new post (look for the “follow” button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at

One thought on “After issuing dozens of corrections to high-profile book, historian shuts down his blog”

  1. Will the publisher be mailing an “errata” to all the purchasers of the first edition, including libraries?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.