Alexander McDuffie, a Texas-based antiques dealer, and Joseph Musso, an artist and historian, are suing the authors of a book about the Alamo for allegedly suggesting they forged artifacts and inflated their prices.
The authors of Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth are Bryan Burrough, journalist for vanity lounge; Chris Tomlinson, columnist for the Houston Chronicle; and Jason Stanford, policy consultant and communications manager. Penguin Random House and the newspaper Texas monthly were also cited as defendants.
Forget the Alamo discusses the origins of the legend of the Battle of the Alamo, how history was altered and twisted in the Jim Crow era, and how revisionists attempted to set the record straight hour on the actual events concerning this Texan origin myth.
“The plaintiffs in this case made a mistake: they trusted a journalist who came to question them on a subject on which they have a great deal of passion and expertise: the authentication of artefacts which could have a link with the Texas Revolution and the Battle of the Alamo,” reads the complaint. “Although this reporter promised that he would leave the project before allowing his co-writers to say anything negative about the plaintiffs or their work, the book that was eventually published…contained material misrepresentations, mischaracterizations and omissions.”
Plaintiffs’ attorney Melynda Nuss said she and her clients are currently unable to comment.
Over the course of the book, the authors included a section on memorabilia from the battle, and that’s where McDuffie and Musso stepped in as resident experts on artifacts from that era.
The book was released on June 8, 2021. Prior to the publication of the book, Texas monthly released an excerpt accompanied by the title “Come and Fake It?” when it appeared in print. McDuffie reportedly filed requests for corrections with Dan Goodgame, the story’s editor, but the lawsuit indicates that McDuffie was unhappy with the corrections Goodgame was willing to make. The article was eventually updated to include numerous corrections.
The book and article reportedly suggested that McDuffie may have added an inscription to a knife that may have belonged to William Barrett Travis, a Texas Army lieutenant colonel, and that he had a close relationship with Alfred Van Fossen. , an antiques dealer with a reputation for selling questionable artifacts.
“In fact,” the complaint states, “Van Fossen ended their relationship by stealing a painting from McDuffie and selling it.”
Dan Goodgame, editor of texas monthlyy, believes that it has made enough corrections.
“Before publishing a long excerpt from a new book, Forget the Alamo, Texas Monthly has carefully checked the facts in this excerpt,” Goodgame wrote in an emailed statement. “After we published it, Alex McDuffie and Joseph Musso told us about several passages they considered inaccurate or unfair. After further research, we corrected some factual errors in the excerpt and allowed complainants to further express their views on other issues in dispute.We have conducted our work with care and fairness, and we intend to take this matter to court.
The complaint alleges that the book greatly harmed McDuffie’s business. According to the suit, McDuffie was making $150,000 a year before the book was released. In the year after it was released, it earned $98,000.
Musso is not a dealer and therefore has not suffered damages for any company, but the lawsuit claims his character was called into question as a result of the snippet.