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Maliszewski offers a fascinating exploration of the varieties of faking, from its historical roots in satire and con artistry to its current boom. Through examples and stories, he explains why fakers almost always find believers and often flourish despite their dishonest tactics.
"Commenting on dupers and the duped, Maliszewski casts little moral judgment, focusing instead on more psychologically complex issues of why people lie, and why readers choose to believe what they do."
"What makes FAKERS at once honest, occasionally stirring, and slightly paranoia-inducing is the author's willingness to forgive most of these swindlers, especially those who uttered hokum in the name of art."
From the Publisher
In the wake of James Frey and Stephen Glass, it would surprise no one if some of the incredible "true" stories in Paul Maliszewski's book are eventually revealed to be fictitious. In fact, such a revelation would likely be an appropriate denouement for this book about the lurid history of con-men and counterfeiters. Maliszewski's account of history's greatest hoaxes covers some familiar names, such as Jayson Blair, Michael Chabon, and Clifford Irving (the fake biographer of Howard Hughes), as well as broader scandals such as the New York Sun's moon-people of 1835, and a recent viral e-mail about a gargantuan man-eating bear. Admirably, in the spirit of disclosure, Maliszewski admits that, while writing for the Business Journal of Central New York, he himself forged dozens of letters to the editor, using false names, adding his own name to the list of FAKERS.
A cultural exploration of the practice of professional misrepresentation traces historical cases of swindling and satire through modern-world cons and Internet hoaxes, offering insight into why scam artists almost always find people to believe them and typically profit from their deceptive practices. 10,000 first printing.