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Page by page listing of mistakes & lies in Coleman's book

Note: Page numbers are from review copy, December, 2004. Any differences with numbering in final published edition will be corrected as soon as possible.


Coleman's error


cover title


"...the End of Earth First!"Earth First! didn't end after Bari's death, it surged to a new peak of activity and continues strong today. See INSTANT PROOF #2



“small towns with names like…Albion Ridge”

There is no town named Albion Ridge.


“When coastal property values inflated, [newer rural refugees] moved inland in a constant pilgrimage to find cheaper land”

The inland areas were settled just as early as coastal areas and there was never a pilgrimage from coastal to inland.


“David and Ellen Drell…after inheriting a small fortune from her grandfather, devoted themselves full-time to the fight to keep Yolla Bolly Wilderness away from the mining and timber interests.”

The Drell's work began long before they inherited in 1989, and it wasn't a fortune, only enough to support their environmental work. They tried to protect Mendocino National Forest , not the Yolla Bolly, and mining wasn't an issue.

4"These so-called virgin redwoods, which can be first or second growth of 500 to 1,000 years of age..."Second growth is by definition not virgin since it replaces virgin trees that were cut down since white settlers arrived 150 years ago.


“Greg King…then writing for the Sonoma County Free Press …”

Greg King wrote for The Paper, never for the Sonoma County Free Press.

5"Darryl Cherney, a run-of-the-mill New York advertising copywriter..."Cherney was never an advertising copywriter or anything close to it. He was a professional musician, moving man and teacher.
5"[Cherney] was struck by a leaflet...depicting a meaty clenched fist over a background of redwood trees..."The Earth First! logo that Cherney saw in 1985 was a round sticker that didn't have any redwoods in the background.
5"[Cherney] finally met a few of the publicity-shy forest 'monkey-wrenchers' as the environmental saboteurs called themselves..." Cherney didn't meet any monkey-wrenchers in Humboldt, just public activists who were eager for publicity.


“….until 1987, when Cherney began romancing Judi Bari…”

Bari was still married and living with Sweeney until May, 1988. Bari and Cherney didn't even meet until he was running for Congress in 1988, as Coleman herself notes on p. 77.


“… Bari started her own chapter of Earth First in Mendocino County in 1989.”

As Coleman herself states on p. 82, the Earth First! local group had already been started by Sequoia and others.

6"She named it 'Ecotopia,' a nod to a 1975 cult novel..." The name Ecotopia Earth First! wasn't invented until 1991 and it came from Cherney, not Bari.
6"Bari was at least a decade older than most of the soldiers in her prospective army..."Almost all of the original Earth First! group in Ukiah were Bari's age or older.


“…her jealous grip on the instruments of power--she held onto all the private phone lists of donors and followers…”

Betty Ball of the MEC confirms that Judi shared all lists and contacts generously with other serious activists.


“Pam Davis drove him [Fred Moore] to the hospital, where he unburdened himself to Bari …”

Pam Davis didn't drive him.


“[ Bari ] phoned…Darryl Cherney and breathlessly communicated this idea.”

Coleman never spoke to either Bari or Cherney, so she has no way to know if Bari was “breathless.” Not likely, since months of broad-based discussion meetings occurred before the Redwood Summer concept took shape.


“A tiny caravan headed south from Mendocino…on May 23, 1990...'Dakota Syd' Clifford...road behind in Phillips' van...Cherney took his own van and rode with…George Shook…”

Cherney and Shook weren't part of the “caravan,” they were already in Berkeley, and had been on the road for weeks.


"Utah Phillips, the graying Pete Seeger knockoff who sometimes shared billing with ( Bari ) and Cherney…"

Utah Phillips looks and sounds nothing like Pete Seeger, and is no copy or imitation of him. He first met Bari the day before, and had never performed with her in public.

9"...there were official reps from Rainbow Action and Earth Island Institute [at Seeds of Peace House meeting May 23]..." No representatives from Rainbow Action or Earth Island were at this meeting.
9"It was also decided that Bari, Cherney and Shannon Marr, a young spiky-haired blond...would collaborate on...a grant proposal..."Shannon Marr has and had sleek black hair and Bari wasn't part of writing the grant proposal.
10"Kemnitzer...recalled Bari's discomfort at the prospect of the Seeds House because she was...past sleeping in a sty with twenty-somethings."Bari wanted to sleep elsewhere because there was no room and she wanted distance from Cherney, from whom she had recently broken off a relationship. She had slept on a sofa several days before for the same reason.
10"Early the next morning, Kemnitzer drove his foster son to school, and then picked up croissants..."Kemnitzer's estranged wife picked up their son. Kemnitzer walked with Cherney for croissants.
10Alleged Bari quote: "There are a lot of dykes in the audience." Alleged Cherney quote: "Not all women are dykes."Made up quotes by Coleman, who never interviewed either Bari or Cherney, and if she knew them at all, she would know they would never have used the word "dykes" which was still very insulting for non-lesbians to use in 1990.
11"...Bari suddenly asked Cherney to ride with her on the trip back...instead of with Shannon Marr...Bari didn't know her way back and felt a little lost in the East Bay."Cherney didn't know the East Bay any better. Bari asked him to ride with her so they could talk and smooth over their differences.
12"The force of the explosion had punched a hole out the driver's side of the car."There were no holes in the side of the car, just impact points.
12"...Cherney told the driver of a second ambulance, 'They threw a bomb at us!'"Cherney never said this. It was a false report by a cop.
13"Bari was able to utter only three staccato words: 'Timber,' 'Nazis,' 'Fort Bragg.'Bari said a lot more, telling the police officer about death threats, and giving the hospital attendant the phone number to the MEC which is how Betty Ball first learned of the attack.


“Martha, the youngest in the family, was born over a decade later [than Judi]”

Martha Bari was born 2 years and 51 days after Judi.


“…Ruth's family, the Aaronsons, were Bolsheviks who fought against the czar in Russia .”

Ruth's family emigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1912, five years before the Russian Revolution.


“Arthur was born to older parents, also Communists…”

Arthur's parents weren't Communists, they were practicing Catholics.


“The family name, Castalaneta, was discarded when Arthur was three years old…”

The family name was Barisciano (no “di”). Castallaneta was the town from which his family originated.


“…Ruth and Arthur were both from radical, secular households, their marriage was apparently frowned upon by both sets of parents.”

Arthur's parents were practicing Catholics, but his family loved Ruth and approved of the marriage.


“…Ruth's Jewish family, aspiring to culture and class, believed that Arthur Bari's Italian working-class status would be a millstone…”

Ruth's family was poor and Arthur was a prosperous self-employed businessman when he proposed. It was a “step up” socially for Ruth.


“Arthur was a gem cutter and also an inventor of gem-cutting tools.”

Arthur was a diamond-setter, not a gem cutter, and he never invented any tools.


“[Judi] had her mother's strong features…Eastern European Jewish dark circles under her eyes…”

Coleman's racial stereotyping is just wrong. Judi closely resembled her Italian Grandmother Marie, dark circles and all, according to photographs.


“[Gina] was…more popular in high school than Judi…”

Gina wasn't particularly popular at high school but Judi was very popular.


“[Gina's] accomplishments were always just beyond Judi's reach, and those who knew Judi well thought it was an abrasion on her soul…”

Their academic achievements were parallel and Judi consistently scored higher on every achievement test. Coleman never spoke to anyone who “knew Judi well,” obviously.


“[Judi] worked on cars…She was proud of her grease-monkey status…”

Judi didn't work on cars.


Judi “half bragged that she couldn't cross the high school cafeteria without guys yelling..because of her boobs.”

Judi never bragged—half or not—about the sexist stereotyping she suffered because of her large breasts, a stereotyping that Coleman perpetuates in other lies in this book.


“She began writing for the New York Times…and eventually [Gina] became the paper's chief science correspondent.”

Gina Kolata is not and never was the “chief science correspondent.” There is no such position at the New York Times.


“Gina…lives in Princeton with her husband, William, a physicist…”

William is a mathematician.


“…Gina's conversion to Catholicism, which brought with it opposition to abortion. That alone would have made for rancorous fights between the siblings…”

Gina and Judi never fought over abortion. In fact, Gina has never discussed abortion with anyone in her family.


“…the two girls fought—sometimes literally…Gossip about fisticuffs between the sisters even circulated later among newsies…Their fights were rumored to have continued into young adulthood.”

There were never any fistfights between Judi and Gina.


“…Walt Penny, Judi's fiance at the time…”

His name isn't “Penny,” it's Penney, and it's hilarious to imagine that they were ever engaged.


“…Judi's resentment was stoked by the fact that Gina never acknowledged their relationship publicly once Judi was well known…”

As an adult, Judi couldn't have cared less whether Gina acknowledged that they were sisters.


“…Martha remained at home long after her elder sisters had departed. At the time of the car bombing, she was still there…”

Martha had left home, had a career, and years later came back to live with her parents to save money while she studied for an advanced degree.

19 note

“…Gina Kolata began using ‘ Bari ' as a middle name in 2003, it was omitted in earlier books and articles.”

Gina used Bari as a middle name when she was on the staff of Science magazine at least as early as 1976. She used it as co-author of the 1978 book Combating the #1 Killer, as co-author of the 1995 book Sex In America, as well as on her solo-authored books The Baby Doctors (1990), Clone (1/99), and Flu (11/99), all of which preceded her 2003 book Ultimate Fitness.


“Judi resented her parents for having kept their political past a secret…”

Judi didn't resent it at all, she was thrilled to learn of it and thought it was cool.


“...the protests against the war in Vietnam [were] at full throttle when Judi hit the University of Maryland in 1967…”

Anti-war protests did not begin at University of Maryland until 1969 and Judi had no political involvements until 1970.


“[Judi] neglected to mention who it was who'd hired the right lawyer for her—her white, ‘privileged middle-class parents.'”

Although they put up her bail money, Judi's parents didn't hire her lawyer—Judi hired him and paid his fee.


“Judi moved into Penny's commune in the slum neighborhood of Chillum Heights , the tackier part of Takoma Park .”

The Chillum Heights residence was a regular apartment, not a commune, and Chillum Heights isn't anywhere near Takoma Park .


“The place was called ‘Buffalo House'…

Buffalo House wasn't in Chillum Heights .


“The walkout wildcat strike of seventeen thousand workers she claimed to have sparked was soon crushed, and she and her fellow wildcatters all lost their jobs.”

Total fiction. The 1974 Retail Clerks strike in Washington , D.C. was an official union strike, not a wildcat, and no one lost their job because they went on strike.


“…sardonic mottoes like ‘You mail them, we maul them.' Apparently she and some of her coworkers did just that—‘maul them'”…

It was the defective new machinery, not Judi and other workers, who mauled the mail. That was what Judi was exposing.


[ Bari and Sweeney were both] “doing parallel political work by putting out non-mainstream union newsletters and organizing wildcat walkouts."

Sweeney never organized a wildcat walkout.


“Sweeney…[was] Stanford class of 1973.”

Sweeney belonged to the class of 1969 and completed all studies that year but didn't bother to apply for his degree until 1973. See INSTANT PROOF #11


“He was also…editor of the militant Retail Clerks' newsletters, Checkout and Wildcat.”

Wildcat had nothing to do with the Retail Clerks Union.


“As [Don Sweeney's] fortunes rose, the Sweeneys moved to Santa Barbara , where they raised their three sons.”

Neither Mike Sweeney or his brothers ever lived in Santa Barbara . See INSTANT PROOF #10


“Classmates remembered that [Sweeney] ran on an antiwar platform and increasingly devoted the paper's pages to resistance against the Vietnam War.”

As editor of the Stanford Daily in early 1968, Sweeney was a moderate liberal supporter of Eugene McCarthy for President and the paper had no radical content.


“Talbot learned that after his first year as a square freshman, Sweeney had ‘a virtual overnight metamorphosis to a committed revolutionary.'”

The pages of the Stanford Daily show that Sweeney was a conventional liberal well into 1969.


“Sweeney had come under the sway of the briefly notorious Stanford professor H. Bruce Franklin…”

Sweeney and Franklin had no political relationship.


“Venceremos members were widely believed to have been the architects of the 1970 attack on the Bank of America at Isla Vista …”

The bank burning took place in the middle of a huge student anti-war riot, and nobody until Coleman and her source Bruce Anderson has ever claimed the arson was done by Venceremos.


“That fall, Sweeney wrote a hit piece on the Bank of America and its founder in the radical monthly Ramparts.”

Sweeney was part of a group that submitted a dull research piece on the bank. Ramparts editors rejected it and wrote their own version, putting Sweeney's name on it. The Ramparts editors who actually did this were Peter Collier, the publisher of Coleman's book, and his long-time collaborator David Horowitz. See INSTANT PROOF #6


“[Sweeney] quoted someone he identified as one of the arsonists, without any explanation of how he had access to the source: ‘Said a 17-year-old bank burner: “Well it was there…the biggest capitalist establishment thing around.””

The quote, in the second paragraph of the article, is clearly identified as being taken from the San Francisco Chronicle. See INSTANT PROOF #6.


“…Sweeney married Cynthia Anne Denenholz, also of Stanford and Venceremos…”

Sweeney was never a member of the secret Venceremos organization, and Coleman admits in the previous paragraph there is no evidence he was.


“They moved to San Diego , where he learned the refrigerator and air conditioning business…Given Sweeney's association with Venceremos and Franklin, some Bay Area radical insiders regarded the choice and timing of his new profession as suspicious.”

There was no coincidence in timing. Sweeney moved to San Diego in December, 1971, and worked as a grocery clerk and union representative until March, 1977. He studied air conditioning at San Diego Junior College in 1976-77.


“Perhaps it was the birth of their children that prompted both parents to return to Stanford to finish their undergraduate study.”

Neither Mike Sweeney or Cynthia Denenholz returned to Stanford to study after they left in 1970. See INSTANT PROOF #11.


“…with a loan from Mike's parents, they bought a modest house.”

There was no loan from Sweeney's parents involved in the purchase of his Santa Rosa house.


“… Bari had never really left the family nest. For all her bravado in the streets, she hadn't been brave enough to travel far from Maryland .”

Judi had lived on her own since college and traveled all over the eastern United States .


“In November [1979], Bari drove by herself across the country to California …”

She drove with Sweeney.


“ Bari planted a vegetable garden in the small enclosed yard.”

The yard was a full ¾ acre.


“Friends that Judi made…frequently remarked upon the evident coolness of her relationship with Arthur and Ruth.”

Judi always had a warm relationship with her parents, who were very proud of her political work.


“…Sweeney and Bari sneaked onto Denenholz's nearby property and sabotaged her water system.”

Denenholz's water system was never sabotaged, by Sweeney and Bari or anyone else.


“Soon Denenholz moved away…Sweeney seethed because she'd moved in with her lover, a local attorney…”

Denenholz already lived with her new husband in their house near Primrose Avenue .


Moore “knew nothing of [Sweeney's] prior political involvement with Venceremos.”

Sweeney had no such prior political involvement.


“Sweeney had abruptly dumped the youngster [Whisper]…”

Whisper was 33 years old, two years older than Sweeney at the time.


“…ultimately, they failed to halt the [airport expansion]”

The community coalition was successful in preventing any expansion of the airport's use and was successful in making the airport follow existing flight restrictions.


“At a 1980 meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Sweeney complained that their house was under the flight path…”

Coleman has the timing wrong, again. All political protest activity against the airport took place in 1981 and 1982.


“…But Bari would later tell several people…that Sweeney had, indeed, set off the conflagration…”

Bari explicitly denied any such thing several times in writing and recorded interviews.


“Soon she began telling a select few of her friends that her husband had smacked her around.”

Sweeney never hit Bari, lucky for him, since she was a brown belt in karate as Coleman notes on p. 23 and well known for karate punching anyone who laid hands on her, as reported in separate incidents on p. 27 and p. 115.


“In a letter challenging a Los Angeles Times story that raised the issue of domestic abuse, Sweeney wrote…”

The reporter for the 4/14/03 story didn't raise the issue, Kate Coleman did in a quote intended to promote her book. After Sweeney's protests, the Times printed a clarification 4/24/03 admitting “The Times has no independent verification of the truth or falsehood of this allegation.”

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