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March 8, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Graduate claims gunned down

Vic PhD? Uhhh, no.

Claims by a controversial American author that he holds a PhD from Victoria University have been refuted.

Charles Pellegrino’s The Last Train from Hiroshima, about the nuclear bombing in World War 2, received good reviews and had been optioned by director James Cameron, before the book was dumped by the publisher Henry Holt and Company.

Questions were asked after Pellegrino admitted one of his interview subjects had not in fact been on one of the planes accompanying the Enola Gay, the American plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

The publisher has also been unable to confirm the existence of other people quoted in Pellegrino’s book.

Pellegrino’s website ( states he has a PhD from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, awarded in 1982.

A Victoria University spokesperson says the claim is false.

“The university is undertaking an investigation into the situation that has arisen in relation to Charles Pellegrino. 

“I can confirm that Mr Pellegrino does not have a PhD from this university.”

Pellegrino was quoted on a contemporary writers’ site saying that “during a period in which ‘evolution’ became a bad word [in New Zealand] punishable by revocation of credentials and confiscation of property [the 1980s], I refused an order from a department chairman to withdraw my books Darwin’s Universe and Time Gate from press”.

He claims he had to defend himself before an “ad hoc” tribunal in New Zealand, where he “earned his doctorate”.

Pellegrino claims that by 1997, the tribunal had dissolved and “ad hoc committee defendants” had their credentials reinstated.


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