Fakers: Hoaxers, Con Artists, Counterfeiters, and Other Great Pretenders

Paul Maliszewski (Author)
Available

Product Details

Price
$24.95  $22.95
Publisher
New Press
Publish Date
January 01, 2009
Pages
245
Dimensions
6.0 X 0.88 X 7.74 inches | 0.76 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781595584229
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Paul Maliszewski has published his fiction and essays in Bookforum, Harper's, Granta, and the Paris Review, and his stories have twice received a Pushcart Prize. Fakers is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews

This fascinating survey of fakers and fabulists begins with a confession from the author that he, too, has been a faker: while he was employed as a writer for a business magazine, he wrote the occasional column under a variety of false identities. But he considered his fakes to be satires, not frauds. On the other hand, there are Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair, journalists who invented magazine and newspaper stories. There's Clifford Irving, who famously faked an autobiography of Howard Hughes, and James Frey, who faked his own autobiography. There's the story of a newspaper that announced the discovery of life on the moon, and much more. Maliszewski does not confine himself to simple recitations of the facts. He explores why these fakers undertook their often complex schemes and how they found audiences who would eagerly believe them, even when the schemes themselves would fall apart under close scrutiny. The book is not only about the fakers but also the faked and about our natural desire to believe the unbelievable-as long as the tale is told convincingly. -- David Pitt (12/15/2008)
[...] The book abounds with interviews and anecdotes about con men, art forgers and historical fakes, leading Maliszewski to mirror in which authors discover only themselves looking back and grinning." The author could stand to take a bit of his own advice, although the book as a whole does provide some interesting insights into the nature of deception.
Every year, another scandal! The Pentagon fakes the story of captured soldier Jessica Lynch; the New Republic discovers that reporter Stephen Glass made up all or part of 21 stories; Oprah first book, we learn also of his own faked letters to the editor and advice columns when he was working for an upstate New York financial journal in the 1990s. What he wrote was accepted and published without comment; it reinforced the says he created his own correspondents to lesson about our vulnerability to falsehood: we presented as story, and not (usually) what intriguing and engaging book of essays. Rather, Maliszewski tells lively stories about fakers past and present, spiced by his own observations on why faking works. There are interviews with journalist Michael Finkel (he invented Youssouf Male, an African wage slave, for the New York Times), painter Sandow Birk, and performance artist Joey Skaggs. A good book, enlightening but of modest proportions, it is recommended for general collections.
[...] Fakers is packed with plenty of shaggy-dog stories about elaborate hoaxes-in 1999, a man named Joey Skaggs created a company called Final Curtain that promised to build cemeteries complete with restaurants and gift shops. Lesser writers could be tempted to coast on the sheer novelty of these stories. But Maliszewski has a curious mind and a sharp pen, so his book becomes a lot more. Of course, that's assuming we can trust him. -- Jonathan Messinger
"Not only is "Fakers" beautifully written and fun to read, but it is tremendously useful. It explains clearly and with perfectly chosen examples just what the distinction is between pointed pranks and lazy fabrications, and between satire and malice. And unlike previous efforts on the subject, this one is entirely in favor of the imagination." -- Luc Sante, author of "Low Life" and "Kill All Your Darlings"
"Here it is, the one true guide to the world of forgery. Paul Maliszewski shows us how to distinguish the masterpieces from the frauds, the inspired fakes from the merely counterfeit, tossing off along the way a few gemlike examples of the former. This is a perfect book for our pompous, authenticity-grubbing times." -- Thomas Frank, author of "The Wrecking Crew" and "What's the Matter with Kansas"?

Not only is Fakers beautifully written and fun to read, but it is tremendously useful. It explains clearly and with perfectly chosen examples just what the distinction is between pointed pranks and lazy fabrications, and between satire and malice. And unlike previous efforts on the subject, this one is entirely in favor of the imagination. Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Kill All Your Darlings
Here it is, the one true guide to the world of forgery. Paul Maliszewski shows us how to distinguish the masterpieces from the frauds, the inspired fakes from the merely counterfeit, tossing off along the way a few gemlike examples of the former. This is a perfect book for our pompous, authenticity-grubbing times. Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew and What s the Matter with Kansas?
"
"Not only is Fakers beautifully written and fun to read, but it is tremendously useful. It explains clearly and with perfectly chosen examples just what the distinction is between pointed pranks and lazy fabrications, and between satire and malice. And unlike previous efforts on the subject, this one is entirely in favor of the imagination." -- Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Kill All Your Darlings

"Here it is, the one true guide to the world of forgery. Paul Maliszewski shows us how to distinguish the masterpieces from the frauds, the inspired fakes from the merely counterfeit, tossing off along the way a few gemlike examples of the former. This is a perfect book for our pompous, authenticity-grubbing times." -- Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew and What's the Matter with Kansas?