The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit, and Defrocking


Product Details

Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Adam Sisman is the author of Boswell's Presumptuous Task, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, and the biographer of John Le Carré, A. J. P. Taylor, and Hugh Trevor-Roper. Among his other works are two volumes of letters by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an honorary fellow of the University of St Andrews.


Longlisted for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

"Amusing and elegantly written." --Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review

"Adam Sisman consistently strikes an ideal balance of intellect and feeling, seriousness and levity, rigor and readability. He's also intriguingly unpredictable in his choice of subjects and never more so than with The Professor and the Parson . . . Meticulously researched and flawlessly written, the book treats its obscure, contemptible subject with the same professionalism that Mr. Sisman brought to Trevor-Roper and the Boswell-Johnson relationship. If Peters seems a parody of the lecherous clergyman and the ruthless academic, Mr. Sisman is a model of the incorruptible biographer." --Ben Downing, The Wall Street Journal

"A reader's delight . . . [An] excellent account of a sanctimonious, egotistical crook and hypocrite." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"An astonishing story of decades of deception by a slithery English academic and cleric . . . Jaw-dropping . . . A captivating true tale that makes even the most intricate con-artist movies look cartoonish." --Kirkus Reviews

"This gripping account of a recalcitrant 20th-century con man from National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Sisman proves the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Riveting . . . Sisman tells this delectable tale with such flair that it is almost impossible not to savor his account of Peters's exploits in a single sitting." --Spectator USA

"Entertaining . . . Far from being the lovable rogue of fiction and film, Peters emerges as a quite despicable, though endlessly fascinating, character." --Patricia Hagen, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

"I was captivated from start to finish by this utterly mad, and wholly delightful story of chicanery and fantasy, and which involves a man who relentlessly duped our most cherished institutions of godly pursuit and higher learning. Plus I learned how to defrock a priest, always good to have on hand in these troubling times." --Simon Winchester, author of The Perfectionists

Praise for Boswell's Presumptuous Task:

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

"Sisman draws inspiration from Boswell, exposing for the reader the inner mechanism of a masterpiece creation, and never hesitating to provide lurid details about Boswell himself." --Kirkus Reviews

"Extraordinarily gripping...Sisman skillfully takes us into the biographer's workshop." --The New York Review of Books

"Smart and very readable...a highly affecting portrait of Boswell the writer." --The New York Times Book Review

"[A] sparkling, companionable, and intelligent account...Sisman's approach is attractive and stimulating to anybody interested in the ethics of biography writing." --The Atlantic Monthly

"A biography as great as its subject." --The Wall Street Journal