Charles R. Pellegrino (born 1953) is an American writer, the author of several books related to science and archaeology, including Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Ghosts of the Titanic, Unearthing Atlantis, and Ghosts of Vesuvius. Pellegrino falsely claimed to have earned a PhD, and errors in his book The Last Train from Hiroshima (2010) prompted its publisher to withdraw it within a few months of publication.
Ghosts of the Titantic
In a scathing review of Ghosts of the Titantic (2000) in The New York Times, Michael Parfit wrote:
"If Charles Pellegrino weren't so shamelessly self-promoting, it might be O.K. to let this book drift into oblivion past the icebergs that it ought to hit. But he quotes himself in epigraphs, invents friendships with famous people and claims scientific authority for a work that flouts most principles of scientific scholarship. He shouldn't get away with it."
Parfit's final paragraph begins: "Pellegrino has an agile mind, which has carried him through books on Atlantis, Sodom and Gomorrah and the lunar module. What's sad about all this is that if he hadn't claimed authority that isn't his, had checked his facts more carefully and had more honestly labeled his reconstructions and speculations as imaginative, the book might have had promise."
Last Train from Hiroshima
The New York Times initially praised the book as "sober and authoritative" and as a "firm and compelling synthesis of earlier memoirs and archival material". Nevertheless, a month later the New York Times questioned claims made in Pellegrino's book:
[The book] claims to reveal a secret accident with the atom bomb that killed one American and irradiated others and greatly reduced the weapon’s destructive power… There is just one problem. That section of the book and other technical details of the mission are based on the recollections of Joseph Fuoco, who is described as a last-minute substitute on one of the two observation planes that escorted the Enola Gay… But Mr. Fuoco… never flew on the bombing run, and he never substituted for James R. Corliss, the plane’s regular flight engineer, Mr. Corliss’s family says. They, along with angry ranks of scientists, historians and veterans, are denouncing the book and calling Mr. Fuoco an impostor.
Veterans of the 509th Operations Group, the Air Force unit which dropped the atomic bombs, issued a detailed list of substantive problems with many of the book's claims about the bomb and the Air Force personnel involved.
The New York Times added, "Facing a national outcry and the Corliss family’s evidence, the author, Charles Pellegrino, now concedes that he was probably duped. . . . [H]e said he would rewrite sections of the book for paperback and foreign editions." Despite Pellegrino's claim in The New York Times that he had been "duped" by Fuoco, further investigation revealed that Pellegrino had repeatedly mentioned one of the book's most disputed claims (a supposedly fatal accident at Tinian Island on 4 August 1945) before Mr. Fuoco had allegedly confided it for him. Doubts also arose about the existence of two westerners allegedly present in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing.
On 1 March 2010, Henry Holt announced it had halted publication of Last Train from Hiroshima.
Pellegrino subsequently revised the text to remove some of the disputed content. The book was retitled "To Hell and Back" and released by a different publisher in 2015.
Pellegrino claimed to have received a PhD in 1982 from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Victoria University denied that claim. Pellegrino responded that the university had "stripped him of his Ph.D. because of a disagreement over evolutionary theory". The New Zealand Herald reported that Pellegrino claimed his credentials had been restored by 1997. The university investigated the matter, and in 2010, The New York Times reported:
In an e-mailed statement, Professor Pat Walsh, vice chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, confirmed that Mr. Pellegrino had been a Ph.D. student in the 1980s. "He submitted a thesis which in the unanimous opinion of the examiners was not of a sufficient standard for a Ph.D. to be awarded," Mr. Walsh said. "Following complaints from Pellegrino, an investigation was carried out by the University. In 1986, Pellegrino appealed to Her Majesty the Queen. The case was then considered by the Governor-General who disallowed the appeal. Accordingly, Pellegrino was never awarded a Ph.D. from Victoria and therefore could not have had it stripped from him or reinstated at a later date."
The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History (2007) (co-authored with Simcha Jacobovici) was a companion book to the Discovery Channel documentary on the same subject created in part by film director James Cameron.
- Time Gate: Hurtling Backward Through History (1983)
- Darwin's Universe: Origins and Crises in the History of Life (with Jesse A. Stoff, 1983)
- Chariots for Apollo: The Untold Story Behind the Race to the Moon (with Joshua Stoff, 1985)
- Interstellar Travel and Communication (with James Powell and Isaac Asimov, et al., 1986)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Hidden Epidemic (with Jesse A. Stoff, 1988)
- Her Name, Titanic: Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship (1988)
- Unearthing Atlantis: An Archaeological Odyssey (1991)
- Return to Sodom and Gomorrah: Bible Stories from Archaeologists (1994)
- Ghosts of the Titanic (2000)
- Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections (2004)
- The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History (with Simcha Jacobovici, 2007)
- The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back (Henry Holt, 2010)
- "Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy," (Foreword by Tom Dettweiler), John Wiley & Sons, N.J. (2012).
- "The Californian Incident," Shoebox/Kindle, Canada (2013).
- "StarTram: The New Race for Space." (with James Powell, George Maise) Shoebox/Kindle, Canada (2013).
- The Fallen Sky (1982)
- Flying to Valhalla (1993)
- The Killing Star (with George Zebrowski, 1995)
- Dust (1998)
- Dyson Sphere (with George Zebrowski, 1999)
- Re-released on October 1, 2002 as part of a 4-DVD set entitled Time Life's Lost Civilizations.
- Ghosts of the Abyss. With James Cameron (2003).
- Naked Science: Atlantis - National Geographic Channel (2004).
- Aliens of the Deep. With James Cameron (2005).
- The Naked Archaeologist: Joshua - History Channel. Hosted by Simcha Jacobovici (2006).
- American Vesuvius - History Channel (2006).
- Secrets of the Bible - National Geographic Channel (2006).
- The Exodus Decoded - History Channel. With Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron (2006).
- The Lost Tomb of Jesus - Discovery Channel. With Simcha Jacobovici (2007).
- Three Ground Zeros, A Thousand Paper Cranes (2008)
- A Jewish Home in Pompeii (History Channel, 2009)
- The Last Train From Hiroshima (Japan TV, 2009)
- Pellegrino and the Hiroshima Controversy in America (Japan TV, Hidetaka/Nakamura, 2010)
- The Legacy of Tsutomu Yamaguchi (Japan TV, Hidetaka/Nakamura, 2011)
- Twice Bombed, Twice Survived, Part 2 (Japan TV, Hidetaka/Nakamura, 2012)
- Rich, Motoko (5 March 2010). "University Rejects Pellegrino Claim in Degree Dispute". The New York Times. New York.
- Parfit, Michael (27 August 2000). "At Sea With a Sunken Ship". New York Times.
- Dwight Garner (20 January 2010). "After Atom Bombs' Shock, the Real Horrors Began Unfolding". The New York Times.
- William J. Broad (20 February 2010). "Doubts Raised on Book's Tale of Atom Bomb". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Krauss, Robert W. (February 2010). "Atomic Veterans Incensed over False Claims in New Book" (PDF). Veterans of the 509th Composite Group (EnolaGay509th.com). Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Amazon.com: Customer Discussions". 23 February 2010.[unreliable source?]
- "Coast to Coast AM Radio: Interview with Charles Pellegrino". Coast to Coast AM. February 2010 – via YouTube.
- Lundin, Leigh (7 March 2010). "Fact, Fiction, Fakery". Literary Scandals. Criminal Brief.
- Pellegrino, Charles R. (6 August 2015). To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1442250581.
- Rich, Motoko (1 March 2010). "Publisher to Halt Printing of Disputed Hiroshima Book". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Italie, Hillel (2 March 2010). "Publisher halts book about bombing of Hiroshima". Yahoo News. New York: Associated Press. Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
- "University denies authors PhD claim". New Zealand Herald. 2 March 2010.
- Schoenfeld, Gabriel (1 March 2010). "A Career Too Good to Be True". Weekly Standard. Washington. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Time Gate: Hurtling Backward Through History. Paperback ed. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books, 1985. ISBN 0-8306-1863-5
- Pellegrino, Charles R. and Stoff, Jesse A. Darwin's Universe: Origins and Crises in the History of Life. 2d ed. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books, 1986. ISBN 0-8306-2773-1
- Pellegrino, Charles R. and Stoff, Joshua. Chariots for Apollo: The Untold Story Behind the Race to the Moon. New York: Quill, 1999. ISBN 0-380-80261-9
- Asimov, Pellegrino, Powell and others edited this work, which is a collection of papers from the American Association for the Advancement of Science May 1986 symposium, Interstellar Travel and Communication. See: "Bibliography." In Charles R. Pellegrino and George Zebrowski. Dyson Sphere. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999. ISBN 0-671-54173-0
- Stoff, Jesse A. and Pellegrino, Charles R. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Hidden Epidemic. 2d rev. ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 1992. ISBN 0-06-092260-5
- Pellgrino, Charles R. Her Name, Titanic: Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Robert Hale Ltd., 1990. ISBN 0-7090-4242-6
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Unearthing Atlantis: An Archaeological Odyssey. New York: Vintage, 1993. ISBN 0-679-73407-4
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Return to Sodom and Gomorrah: Bible Stories from Archaeologists. 2d paperback ed. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 1995. ISBN 0-380-72633-5
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Ghosts of the Titanic. New York: Avon, 2001. ISBN 0-380-72472-3
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Connections. Paperback ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. ISBN 0-06-075100-2
- Jacobovici, Simcha and Pellegrino, Charles R. The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History. Paperback ed. New York: HarperOne, 2008. ISBN 0-06-120534-6
- Pellegrino, Charles R. Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2010. ISBN 0-8050-8796-6
- "Movies: About Lost Civilizations: Aegean - Legacy of Atlantis". The New York Times.
- `Lost Civilizations' Uses Modern Ways To Tell Ancient Tales - Chicago Sun-Times | Encyclopedia.com