Although I’m near the end of this book, I’d thought I’d stop by and give it a good recommendation. It’s a great read for history enthusiasts and anyone who is looking for something new. Now, as writers, we all know how tough–not to mention frustrating–the publishing world can be. Sometimes, we may feel that our work isn’t good enough. I know it’s tough, but don’t despair.
The book I’m recommending is entitled Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds, by Melissa Katsoulis. This book contains some brief stories of famous writers who have created their own hoaxes for personal reasons, such as financial, political, including celebrity gain, etc. One of the most famous hoaxers, Clifford Irving, plotted a phony autobiography of Howard Hughes for financial gain, especially because his past novels were unsuccessful. His actions, in the end, lead to serious consequences. The story of Irving was, then, made into a movie in 2006, entitled The Hoax, starring Richard Gere.
Other stories include the hoaxes of James Frey, J.T. LeRoy, Nasdijj, Misha Levy Defonseca, Mark Twain, etc. I admit that I was surprised to see Mark Twain’s name on the list. Included are some stories from the 18th-19th century, celebrity testaments, Holocaust memoirs, and more. Some of the stories that caught my attention were the hoaxes from The Hitler Diaries, Go Ask Alice, including The Abraham Lincoln Letters.
When I read about the lives of these writers, I found it to be amazing, yet a bit sad. Many of these writers were either desperate, crazy, or just craving attention that they were willing to risk everything, not to mention some had fooled many of their fans and talk show hosts with their fraudulent stories. Sadly, their consequences have lead to public shame and humiliation.
Perhaps those published books were enjoyable, fraudulent or not. The writers just went about everything the wrong way. Nevertheless, this is a great read. So go ahead and pick up a copy.