Jane Goodall’s ‘Seeds of Hope’ reissued a year after being pulled from shelves

(Courtesy of Grand Central)
(Courtesy of Grand Central)

Primatologist Jane Goodall acknowledged she was “not methodical enough” in her note-taking for the first edition of her book “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants,” which was reissued on Tuesday a year after the publisher pulled it from the shelves.

Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, decided to publish the new version after evidence emerged last year that numerous passages in the book had been used from other published sources without attribution.

“Dr. Goodall carefully reviewed her book, made corrections and added 57 pages of endnotes,” Matthew Ballast, executive director of publicity for Grand Central, said in an e-mail.

The borrowed material was revealed in The Washington Post in March 2013.

In an interview published Tuesday with a science Web site, Mosaic, Goodall said that her busy work schedule was partly to blame for the unattributed material. She had been so busy that she failed to properly organize her notes while writing the book, she told the Web site, which is published by a charitable foundation called the Wellcome Trust.

“In some cases,” she said, “you look at my notebooks, there’s no way you can tell whether this is from talking to somebody or whether it was something I read on the internet.”

Goodall said she had learned from the experience. “I shall certainly make sure I know who said something or what I read or where I read it,” she said, insisting she would never knowingly borrow someone else’s material. “I don’t think anybody who knows me would accuse me of deliberate plagiarism.”

In “Seeds of Hope,” Goodall, known for her studies of chimpanzees in the wild, delves into her lifetime love of plants and their impact on the natural world. She provides first-person botanical observations and offers a prescription to protect plants and the planet in this age of environmental crisis.

Steven Levingston is the nonfiction editor of The Washington Post. He is author of “Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris” (Doubleday, 2014) and “The Kennedy Baby: The Loss that Transformed JFK” (Washington Post eBook, 2013).
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