About October 2006, the book reviewed here was withdrawn from print by the publisher, who wrote to Edward Blickstein
that it "doesn't sufficiently acknowledge the intellectual debt it owes to your prior unpublished manuscript".
Full details of the withdrawal are available at http://www.intlpianoarchives.com/
Why this book is uninteresting:
This book is uninteresting because:
(i) it appears to be largely derived, with very little acknowledgement,
from the life-time work of Edward Blickstein,
which it is hoped will soon be published, possibly on the Internet;
(ii) it is partly put together directly from the materials on my own web site,
with no acknowledgement of the site;
(iii) it is partly derived from a variety of Internet sources apparently not
checked for, and sometimes lacking in, accuracy;
(iv) the book's jacket mentions no qualifications of the author for the task,
and specifically no musical qualifications;
(v) the discussion connecting the various reproduced materials confirms
the author's lack of qualifications for the task;
(vi) the book contains many factual errors;
(vii) documentation of sources is sometimes not fully or accurately given;
(viii) the book's discography is limited to 78s and just one CD of many that
exist, and no mention is made of the elaborate discography / rollography
freely available on my web site;
(ix) there are serious gaps in the book's coverage of the available resources;
(x) a very long period of work is required to write a good biography,
and it is obvious that in this case grossly inadequate time has been devoted
to the task by the author.
Why I am nevertheless reviewing this book:
I am reviewing this book because:
(a) The many errors and inadequacies demand correction for the sake of the
My web site on Pachmann is devoted to making freely available web versions of
original documents that may then be consulted by anyone interested.
Those documents themselves naturally contain many errors and I have not
attempted the huge task of identifying them all, but when they are given more
permanence in book form they may do much harm. Therefore I will try to list
the main errors appearing in this book, and I will add to that list over time.
(b) There are implications for the publishing world.
That a University Press should allow itself to be associated
with such a product suggests a very poor outlook for academic publishing.
(c) By drawing attention to the inadequate results of the attempt of an
amateur to write this book, it may be possible to make clear the requirements
for a satisfactory result, so that a future author may be able to do justice
to the task. In particular, proper research methods may be made clear.
Limitations of this review:
1. As Edward Blickstein's material has not yet been published,
there are many cases in which I can not be sure whether my comments apply
primarily to that material or to the reviewed book.
It would not be appropriate to criticise Blickstein's material,
as he had not processed it into final form for publication.
I have nevertheless had no alternative but to comment on the material
now in print, no matter how it came to be published.
2. Limitations on my available time mean that this review will probably
remain quite incomplete.
Method followed for this review:
As the task of attempting to deal with all the inadequacies of the reviewed
book is by no means the most productive one to which I can devote my time,
I propose to add to the present review only as time permits.
This review is therefore expected to be in progress for some time.
The scheme of the review will be set up early and fleshed out over time.
Summary of the table and discussion by category:
Errors pointed out here are significant, because the reader's confidence
in the whole of the book's contents is reduced when there is evidence of
(F) Factual errors:
Both the name and birth date given in the book for Pachmann's wife Maggie are
wrong, according to her birth certificate (available elsewhere on this site).
If the author wished to dispute the details given in her birth certificate,
he should at least have discussed it.
He evidently did not even access her birth certificate,
despite the book's jacket saying that
"particular emphasis is placed on . . . Maggie Okey . . .".
Occasionally US usage may differ from my usage.
It is known that Blickstein's manuscript was not fully documented.
It seems likely that, when taking some of Blickstein's undocumented
material, Mitchell has allowed it to remain undocumented.
The mis-attribution of an article to A. M. Diehl (pp.31, 211) constitutes
a gross lack of diligence in research.
(G) Gaps in coverage of the available resources:
The Times of London is quoted only once, on page 24. This is a large gap
in the coverage, because Pachmann spent a lot of time in London.
(G2) Other resources:
The book's index is very poor.
(M) Inadequacies based upon lack of knowledge of music:
(N) Negative comments not elsewhere included:
Layout: to print the many long quotations straightforwardly would have made
the book seem to consist mostly of quotations,
so they are crudely interspersed with differently formatted
material (e.g. p.179 lines -3 to -4).
(+) Positive comments:
The categories used (more of which may be added later)
and their identifying letters are: