Tuesday, March 03, 2015

LIBRARY STORIES: Gus Hasford's Library Book Theft Charges

Are you, too, a fan of Gus Hasford's novels?
Or of the award-winning film Full Metal Jacket (1987), based on Hasford's first book?

Wikipedia: Gustav haford - First novel and film

In 1978, Hasford attended the Milford Writer's Workshop and met veteran science fiction author Frederik Pohl, who was then an editor at Bantam Books. At Pohl's suggestion, Hasford submitted The Short-Timers, and Pohl promptly bought it for Bantam.[5]
The Short-Timers became a best-seller, described in Newsweek as “The best work of fiction about the Vietnam War”.[1] It was adapted into the 1987 feature film Full Metal Jacket, directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay written by Hasford, Kubrick, and screenwriter Michael Herr was nominated for an Academy Award. Hasford's actual contributions were a subject of dispute among the three, and ultimately Hasford chose to skip the Oscar ceremonies.[1]
This story has long haunted me:

Wikipedia: Gustav Hasford - Library books theft charges

In 1988, shortly before the Oscar ceremony, Hasford was charged with theft after campus police from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, found nearly 10,000 library books in his rented storage locker. At that time, he had 87 overdue books and five years of the magazine Civil War Times checked out from the Cal Poly-SLO library; the materials were valued at over $2,000.[6]

Hasford's book collection included books borrowed (and never returned) from dozens of libraries across the United States, and from libraries in the United Kingdom and Australia. Others were allegedly taken from the homes of acquaintances. Among them were 19th-century books on Edgar Allan Poe and the American Civil War.[6] He had obtained borrowing privileges at Cal Poly-SLO as a California resident, but submitted a false address and Social Security number. In 1985, he had borrowed 98 books from the Sacramento, California public library, and was wanted for grand theft there.[6]

Hasford initially denied the charges but eventually admitted possession of several hundred stolen books, and pled nolo contendere ("no contest") to possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment (of which he served three months) and promised to pay restitution from the royalties for his future works.[6]

Hasford claimed that he wanted the books to research a never-published book on the Civil War. He described his difficulties as "a vicious attack launched against me by Moral Majority fanatics backed up by the full power of the Fascist State."[6]