Authors sometimes make errors. I often see an acknowledgment in history books that the subject is large and complex, and mistakes may have been made, followed by a request from the author for corrections. If they have an e-mail address, I send them whatever information I have. I have no problem with that. Historical research is finicky and dependent in many cases on incomplete records that were all that was available to the author at the time. Additionally, readers have to take the time factor into account. I always look at the date of publication in order to establish what information might have been available to the author at the time and what might have been learned since then. Bright people, however, make dumb mistakes all the time. When Ballard first pontificated for the press on the sinking of the TITANIC, he stated as fact that the vessel had hit the bottom at a speed in "the three digit range", i.e., 100 mph or better. A 30 second phone call after 5 seconds of serious thought would have netted him the fact that there is a maximum velocity in water of just over 30 mph for a streamlined object under ideal circumstances. I forwarded that information to Ballard, and to the network TV station that carried the interview. Ballard was gracious enough to respond to my letter and thank me. Errors happen, and the likelihood and magnitude of the error is directly proportional to the credentials of the author. By the time they get a doctorate, it's guaranteed to be a doozy. As for Wikipedia, it has been banned from just about every school in the nation as an allowable reference for any submission, whether term paper, thesis or whatever. I never understood how any source could claim credibility when anyone and everyone could edit it pretty much at will. In the meantime, I love history books, and I often do my own impromptu research using a history book I have just read as a starting point.