Lott’s review at Barnes and Noble

Eagle-eyed reader Michael has spotted another one of those five-star reviews of Lott’s books. This time it’s at Barnes and Noble:

A reviewer, from Madison, Wisconsin, April 19, 1999,i-01aad87fa71e39e3a836a867bd012306-5stars.gif
Clearly written and a truly thought provoking book
It is too bad that there isn’t more of this clear headed and factual discussion of important issues that directly impact people’s lives. This book may not have completely changed my mind on the issue of gun control, but I have certainly gone from automatically supporting controls to a much more agnostic position. Probably the most important thing that I learned from this book is that sometimes what may seem like the most obvious, simplest solutions to problems can have unintended consequences. I guess that I have become more concerned that we must be careful that gun control policies do not the primarily disarm law-abiding ‘good’ citizens, who are most likely to obey any new laws. I guess that I have also come to believe that guns not only have obvious bad effects, but also beneficial ones for people’s safety and that we must ask what is the net effect of new rules. Lott’s powerful evidence that it is poor minorities who live in high crime areas who benefit the most from being able to defend themselves hit me hard. The evidence on accidental gun deaths was also very surprising. With all the national news coverage of accidental gun deaths involving young children, I would never have guessed until I read Lott’s book how infrequent these events are. Again what is most powerful about the book is not that Lott denies the problems, but that he asks how do the benefits compare with the costs: Do guns on net save childrens’ and adults’ lives? Just as getting rid of pools would prevent drownings but simultaneously eliminate important benefits, Lott shows that more lives are saved than lost from gun ownership. I was also deeply bothered by the outrageous attacks that gun control organizations like Handgun Control launched against Lott.

Let’s see:

  1. The writing style is Lott’s.
  2. It hits all of Lott’s favourite points he likes to make about his book.
  3. It is posted from Madison, Wisconsin within a few weeks of another anonymous review by Lott also posted from Madison.
  4. It pretends (not very convincingly) to come from a supporter of gun control, just like Lott’s anonymous review of Cook and Ludwig.

I conclude that this review was written by Lott, bring the the totals to seven certain and four probable self reviews of Lott’s books.


  1. #1 Bob Munck
    December 13, 2003

    This may already have been mentioned, but there is software out there that will compute a probability that two pieces of text were written by the same person. It uses word frequency, sentence length, grammatical constructs used, and several other things. Way back in my college days in the 60’s, I helped a professor of mine analyse the Epistles to test if they were all written by the same person and if that person was St. Paul. (answer: nope). Given that large samples known to have been written by Lott are available, it should be possible to get results having fairly high confidence levels.

    Another point: the data that Amazon keeps to identify reviewers (probably IP addresses) may well be available externally. They’re doing a great deal to make their vast databases useful to other people.

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