ATLANTA, Ga., Dec. 6 — An adviser to former President Jimmy Carter and onetime executive director of the Carter Center has publicly parted ways with his former boss, citing concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Mr. Carter's latest book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."
The adviser, Kenneth W. Stein, a professor of Middle Eastern history and political science at Emory University, resigned his position as a fellow with the Carter Center on Tuesday, ending a 23-year association with the institution.
In a two-page letter explaining his action, Mr. Stein called the book "replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments." Mr. Stein said he had used similar language in a private letter he sent to Mr. Carter, but received no reply.
"In the letter to him, I told him, ‘It's your prerogative to write anything you want when you want,' " Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "That's not why I'm resigning."
Mr. Stein said that he admired the former president's accomplishments but that felt he had to distance himself from the Carter Center and the book, which was published by Simon & Schuster.
"It's an issue of how history should be written," Mr. Stein said. "I had to distance myself from something that was coming close to me professionally."
Deanna Congelio, spokeswoman for Mr. Carter, released a statement with his response: "Although Professor Kenneth Stein has not been actively involved with the Carter Center for more than 12 years, I regret his resignation from the titular position as a fellow." It did not address Mr. Stein's criticism of the book.
That criticism is the latest in a growing chorus of academics who have taken issue with the book, including Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard, who called the book "ahistorical," and David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"I was just very saddened by it," Mr. Makovsky said. "I just found so many errors."
Mr. Carter's use of "apartheid" in the title has attracted much of the controversy. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles released a statement on Monday saying the former president harbors bias against Israel. "There is no Israeli apartheid policy, and President Carter knows it," the statement read.
But Mr. Stein's criticism of the book has been perhaps the sharpest cut.
Mr. Stein was executive director of the Carter Center from 1983 to 1986 and had continued to serve as a Middle East fellow until Tuesday. In 1985, he wrote a book with Mr. Carter, "The Blood of Abraham: Insights in the Middle East," which was published by Houghton-Mifflin.
Mr. Stein said the former president had come to speak to his class as recently as last month. Mr. Stein declined to detail all the inaccuracies he found, saying he was still documenting them for a planned review of the book; but he did offer a few examples.
Mr. Carter, he said, remembers White House staff members in 1990 being preoccupied by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when the former president tried to describe to them talks he had had with Middle Eastern leaders. But the White House briefings occurred in the spring, Mr. Stein said, and the invasion of Kuwait was not until August.
"You can't write history simply off the top of your head and expect it to be credible," he said.
Mr. Stein also said he had been struck by parts of Mr. Carter's book that seemed strikingly similar to a work by a different author, but he would not disclose the details.
"There are elements in the book that were lifted from another source," Mr. Stein said. "That other source is now acting on his or her own advice about what to do because of this."
David Rosenthal, the publisher of Simon & Schuster, dismissed Mr. Stein's claims. "We're confident in his work," Mr. Rosenthal said of Mr. Carter. "Do we check every line in every book? No, but that's not the issue here. I have no reason to doubt President Carter's research."
Still other observers familiar with the sometimes contentious relationship between Mr. Carter and Mr. Stein said Mr. Stein might have been motivated by more than preserving academic integrity.
"He feels snubbed he wasn't given any kind of acknowledgment for the work he's done with Carter," said Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans. "It's a bit of bruised ego and philosophical difference being displayed in public here."