The Ultimate Book of Impostors tells the stories of the boldest and most notorious impostors of the past 500 years. There are fraudulent claimants to thrones and titles, fantasists, fake natives, criminals and women who lived as men. They are extraordinary characters who led equally extraordinary lives. Princess Caraboo and George Psalmanazar claimed to be visitors from the exotic East at a time when few people travelled further than the next town. Jack Williams served as a Union soldier during the American Civil War, but ‘he’ was actually a woman. John List evaded arrest for 18 years after killing his family by starting a new life with a false identitiy. General George MacGregor pretended to be the chief of a remote island nation, which he persuaded people to invest in, but it didn’t exist.
Serial impostors such as Frédéric Bourdin and Michael Sabo adopted dozens of false identities. A 27-strong Israeli Mossad hit-team stole the identities of real people to get close to their target without raising suspicions. Despite the risk of detection, impostors continue to ply their fraudulent trade today. Veterans’ associations regularly unmask bogus war heroes and the authorities face a continuing struggle to detect bogus doctors, pilots and other professionals. Are you sure your partner, friend or workmate really is the person you think he or she is?
Ian Graham was born in Belfast in 1953. In the 1970s, he took a degree in applied physics and a postgraduate diploma in journalism at The City University, London. In the early 1980s, he worked as a magazine journalist and editor in London before becoming a freelance writer and moving to rural Norfolk.Ian has written more than 240 books, mainly illustrated non-fiction books for children and teens, on science, technology and engineering topics ranging from space exploration, aviation and forensic science to energy, inventions and science experiments. He has also written graphic novels based o...
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