PO Box 943, Mendocino CA 95460-0943

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Media Contact: Nicholas Wilson, info (at)

 The Estate of Judi Bari, the Earth First! activist who died of cancer in 1997, today requested that Encounter Books "withdraw The Secret Wars of Judi Bari from publication until it can be corrected." 

In a letter to publisher Peter Collier, estate executor Darlene Comingore cited 351 factual errors in the new book, and said, "A book can't claim to be a biography with this level of error....That doesn't mean that Judi Bari is above criticism.  But everyone--dead or alive--is entitled to a certain base-line honesty in the telling of the story of his or her life."

Comingore told Collier that the on-line critique of the book at that has been prepared by family, friends and associates of Judi Bari will help in the task of correcting the book, since it lists the 351 errors page-by-page and includes documentation that immediately disproves 15 key assertions by author Kate Coleman.[A copy of Comingore's letter is below].

The book received another setback today in a scathing Los Angeles Times review. Mark Hertsgaard wrote that Coleman's book "could be assigned in journalism schools to each how not to do investigative reporting."  The review said Coleman's "reporting is thin and sloppy and the humdrum prose is marred by dubious speculation."  He adds, "You can't cherry pick 'facts' to fit your thesis."

 In dismissing Coleman's book, the review states, "Coleman doesn't explore the very plausible theory that angry loggers may have bombed Bari.  Her thesis is that Bari was a pot-smoking egomaniac who latched onto the timber wars to fulfill her dream of political martyrdom--a dream the car bombing fulfilled six years before her 1996 (sic) death of breast cancer." (note: Bari died on March 2, 1997, and over a thousand people attended her memorial seven days later in her hometown of Willits, California.)

 In a letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat today calling attention to errors in a Sunday column by Chris Smith, Friends of Judi Bari coordinator Nicholas Wilson offered a list of facts about the Coleman book that he would happily document if asked. The fact list appears below, after the text of Bari estate executor Darlene Comingore's letter to Encounter Books.

Estate of Judi Bari

January 25, 2005
Peter Collier, Publisher
Encounter Books
665 Third Street, Suite 330
San Francisco, CA 94107-1951

RE: Request for withdrawal of "The Secret Wars of Judi Bari"

Dear Mr. Collier:

Regardless of political allegiances, it is sometimes possible for people of differing persuasions to agree that something just isn’t true. Although you run an ideologically-based publishing house, I trust that you have the intellectual integrity to want to avoid knowingly printing false information under the guise of non-fiction.

Any book can have a few mistakes. But Encounter Books’ recent title, "The Secret Wars of Judi Bari," seems to have broken some kind of record. A page-by-page listing of its factual errors and false assertions has reached 351 entries, and the book is only 232 pages long. These errors range from small ones—like the constant misplacing of people, dates and events—on up to serious libels, like the claim that Bari abandoned environmental activism and instead promoted her image as a martyr in order to benefit financially.

You may quarrel with some of the listings, but most are indisputable. Fifteen key errors are refuted with on-line documentation, and many more will be included in the "Instant Proof" section as additional documents are assembled.

As someone who was a friend, political colleague, and ally with Judi from 1979 to the day of her death in 1997, the portrait painted in this book is not one that I recognize. Please don’t take my word for this. In his LA Times review of your book published January 25, 2005, Mr. Mark Hertsgaard writes, "‘The Secret Wars of Judi Bari’ could be assigned in journalism schools to teach how not to do investigative reporting." As a person who Judi named to protect her interests, Ms. Coleman neither contacted me nor to my knowledge attempted to contact me to verify any assertions she presented in her book.

A book can’t claim to be a biography with this level of error, whether it is deliberate or just the consequence of a lazy author or incompetent fact-checkers. That doesn’t mean that Judi Bari is above criticism. But everyone—dead or alive—is entitled to a certain base-line honesty in the telling of the story of his or her life.

For these reasons, the Estate of Judi Bari requests that you withdraw "The Secret Wars of Judi Bari" from publication until it can be corrected. The extensive critique that has been posted by her family, friends and associates at should be helpful.

I look forward to hearing from you. You may contact me by phone at (916) 806-6913, by email at, or in writing in care of my attorneyMr. Daryl J. Weinroth, Esq., 750 Grant Avenue, Suite 250, Novato, CA 94947.

Very truly yours,

Darlene G. Comingore

------------------end text of Bari estate letter----------------

In a letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Tuesday morning, Friends of Judi Bari  made the following offer of proof:

We can document each of the following facts and would be happy to do so:

Kate Coleman's book is a classic example of the principle: garbage in, garbage out. Encounter Books should be investigated for false advertising for calling the book non-fiction. It's fiction from the title through the final sentence.

Nicholas Wilson
Coordinator, Friends of Judi Bari (FOJB)
PO Box 943
Mendocino CA 95460-0943
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