Pankaj Mishra, Niall Ferguson in literary spat | books | Hindustan Times
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Pankaj Mishra, Niall Ferguson in literary spat

While dust has yet to settle on the famous literary feud between V S Naipaul and Paul Theroux, another literary spat has erupted between Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra and British historian Niall Ferguson.

books Updated: Nov 18, 2011 13:24 IST

While dust has yet to settle on the famous literary feud between V S Naipaul and Paul Theroux, another literary spat has erupted between Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra and British historian Niall Ferguson.

While reviewing Ferguson's latest work, Civilisation: The West and the Rest (Allen Lane),for the London Review of Books, Pankaj Mishra has blasted Ferguson as someone whose books "are known less for their original scholarly contribution than for containing some provocative counterfactuals".

He also dismisses Ferguson as a "homo atlanticus redux", a "retailer of emollient tales about the glorious past."

In response to the review, Ferguson has lashed out at Mishra for writing a "personal attack that amounts to libel". He added that the "review is a crude attempt at character assassination, which not only mendaciously misrepresents my work but also strongly implies that I am a racist."

Mishra accused the TV historian and Harvard scholar of writing of being a racist by making comparisons between him and American racial theorist Theodore Lothrop Stoddard. To which, Ferguson retorted, "As those who know me or who have read my work can attest, Mishra's insinuation that I am a racist could scarcely be further from the truth."

Not content with this outburst, the British historian has also directed his anger at London Review of Books, for its "left-leaning politics" and demanded a "public apology for his "highly offensive and defamatory allegation of racism."