Since our January 31, 2019 blog posting of Worlds to Conquer – A NEVER Authorized Blemished Biography, many people have inquired about the scale of Steve’s unaccounted for changes that were overlooked for the book’s First Edition (and obviously the Second Edition as well).
In summary the changes were major, and the book should have never been published and released in its present state. It is unfortunate that these additional changes were not found by Steve during the book’s draft review stages rather than during a review of a printed copy. But, these circumstances are not uncommon in publishing, and authors have to expect them until all parties are pleased and the product is ready for printing.
After giving the book a thorough review in the Spring of 2000, Steve identified well over 100 words in a few chapters that needed deleting from the text altogether. His removals centered more on accuracy and completeness rather than cosmetic value. He also cited a misrepresentation of certain facts in some areas of the book that would be better off being eliminated.
Overview of Changes
Below is Steve’s actual markup of his last printed copy. The printed copy of this first edition was sent to Steve by the author around December 1999 (author’s signed page is visible). The markup is in Deborah Reeves Stewart’s handwriting and given to us by the Reeves’ estate.
After receiving their printed copy, Steve and Deborah were upset by some of the book’s content. They flagged more than 100 pages that needed correcting, with some pages having multiple comments. The author, Chris LeClaire, will be viewing this for the first time because he adamantly REJECTED receiving any more changes to the printed copy even though he was aware Reeves requested additional updates.
When word of the author’s rejection eventually reached Steve in April 2000, he and Deborah decided to withhold Steve’s final approval because:
(1.) The book wasn’t accurate unless changes were made.
(2.) Steve was totally disgusted with the author’s attitude about not complying with his request.
Steve flagged over 120 random words or phrases throughout the book that needed correcting or re-phrasing not only for accuracy sake, but also for readability and presentation ease. Some of these requested revisions involved misspellings, word misuse, inconsistent style, irregular spacing, etc., etc.
The principal modifications included adding substantially new material specifically written by Steve for a few chapters. He felt at times there were gaps in thought or story, a definite lack of transition from one paragraph to the next, and a serious but unintended distortion of the facts. Those text additions totaled over 500 new words and according to Steve, were definitely critical for inclusion so his life story was both truthful and complete.
Sample of Major Changes
To give you an idea of the extent of added material, we’ve decided to share some of it by way of a layered collage of “actual” text inserts. The collage is meant to be more of a representation rather than a readable copy. The handwriting is not Steve’s but instead his long-time companion, Deborah Reeves Stewart. Back then, Steve would dictate his thoughts to Deborah, and then she would transcribe them to notebook paper. (You’ll notice we’ve added the specific word count to each insert.)
Note that this collage only accounts for some of the new written material. Still other new material was scattered throughout the book via a sentence or two. We chose to show you only the material that fell into paragraph form.
As we’ve mentioned before in other blogs, Steve Reeves insisted the book’s final authorization and approval was contingent upon the author adding all his final changes, of which there were many. We have known for a while that NONE of Steve’s changes from his last review were ever incorporated into the book’s First Edition. That is certainly too bad and most disappointing for those wanting to know the real Steve Reeves’ life history.