His credibility is at stake. With us and with his sources for any future history book. Him being wrong or willfully deceitful tarnishes or ruins that. And if anything I dint think he’d risk that.
Finally we do have corroboration. From earlier instances of folks telling little bits of numbers that match and TSR alum that mostly, and I mean almost all of them, and I’d include Bruce even, have not contradicted his numbers.
From what I understand from Historiography...
If it is written as a history, and published under that, it COULD be a good way to get discredited.
I know it says history on the summation, but I don't think it's a professional history as what we would see a scholarly work though.
If it is, I don't think he'd dare go to print as it COULD ruin any academic career and be laughed out of the entire field.
You don't go with..."just trust me, this is good..." in most scholarly works in academics, whether business, history, physics, or most other fields. (though, there are exceptions, as I will show below. It's a BIG RISK though).
But...this isn't an academic work (not at least how I'm looking at it, it's more like...a Biography written for entertainment purposes than something for the academics), or at least, I would assume that.
Or, if this is written for a professional status, the standards have fallen drastically.
Just a few years ago you couldn't get away with this on a Master's thesis, and definitely not on a Senior Paper at any Major University (maybe in a pay for degree, or a history paper at a Junior College though). To think one would get away with it in a Post-Grad or other work just a few years ago would be scandalous and the individual trying to go for the degree would get a scathing board to rip them over, much less what should happen during Peer review.
That said, do I think he's trying to do this for an academic work or to advance an academic career?
No. I don't see the book as that either. I think he's a fan and he's doing it because he's interested in it and trying to piece things together, and as he does so he's sharing it with the rest of us. He's getting as much information as he can on the subject and sharing it with everyone else in the way that he can. He's also in a prime situated spot, Milwaukee, which puts him close to where many of the main characters of the picture reside (or at least closer than many others).
The main readers and reviewers are NOT going to be Historians (or so I would think). They are going to be interested more in what he is writing. Ironically, as there IS very little information on this period, his book may or may not be taken as a rather important piece of historiographical writing on it's own, which for an academic could actually work either way (positive or negative). It's not the first time something like that would have happened.
Fawn M. Brodie was a Historian that can be seen to have vastly changed the way history is written or done. She also was seen to have questionable research techniques at the time (similar to what Riggs has, but even more unsupportable with any facts. She didn't even have a confidential source, she just went on a hunch!). What props her up is that as other historians have investigated and researched, and evidence has come about which were not available previously, many of her ideas have shown to have historical basis. This has radically changed how Thomas Jefferson was viewed (for starters) and the history between him and the slaves he kept.
She wrote a book on Thomas Jefferson. At the time, though popular with readers, it had several scathing reviews among her Peers. She tried hard to keep the top scholars from having their thoughts on it come out. Time has proven those ideas most controversial as actually having basis in history. Today, it has reframed the history of Thomas Jefferson into a different light, and his story is related differently today due to what she wrote and the evidence to support it that has come out since.
It may be that this book will similarly be seen in the future in a like manner, or it could have other impacts that we have not seen if he is going for a historical work in academics.