Publication of Controversial Book Canceled
Jul. 21, 1987
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Macmillan Publishing Co. has canceled publication of a controversial book about the patriarch of the Bingham publishing empire after reviewing numerous challenges submitted by a family member, an attorney said.
Jeff Goldstein, an attorney for Macmillan, said Monday the cancellation is not based on legal considerations and the publisher is convinced the book would have been a commercial success.
''Macmillan's deep concern with the book's handling and treatment of factual matters has led it, as a responsible publisher, to this decision,'' he said.
The decision came after the company reviewed volumes of documents submitted by former Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co. Chairman Barry Bingham Sr. as a challenge to a book by David Chandler about Bingham's father.
''As a result of this review ... it became clear that Macmillan and Mr. Chandler had serious substantive disagreements as to his interpretation and presentation of significant portions'' of the materials in the book, titled ''The Binghams of Louisville,'' Goldstein said.
Macmillan released publication rights to the book, which means Chandler could sell it to another publisher. He said he has three publishers interested, but would not name any.
Chandler has said the book had been printed but not bound.
The book is about Judge Robert Worth Bingham, who inherited $5 million from his second wife in 1917 and bought the Louisville newspapers, founding a media empire that sold last year for about $442 million.
Chandler, a People magazine correspondent and former newspaper reporter, concluded that the judge mistreated his second wife, Mary Lily Kenan Bingham, and probably caused her death.
Bingham Sr. obtained copies of the galley proofs of Chandler's book and hired a law firm and a local historian to check its accuracy. They produced a five-inch-thick memorandum that contended the book contained more than 160 factual errors.
The Bingham documents suggest that Mary Lily Bingham died of alcoholism.
Chandler acknowledged that Bingham found errors in the book, but said they were minor and would be corrected.
''From my standpoint, cleaning up the manuscript will take a very short time,'' he said. He said the revised version ''may include a chapter on Barry Bingham's attempts to suppress the book.''
But Gordon Davidson, Bingham Sr.'s attorney, said, ''We are most pleased with the decision.''
Davidson declined to say whether Bingham will send his package of documents to any other potential publisher. Anybody who would consider publishing it ''should certainly, in fairness'' ask for that information first, he said.