The best hoaxes do more than fool someone. The succeed in deflating the self-important, exposing the foolish, and exploiting...

READ REVIEW

TALES OF TRICKERY: From the Land of Spoof

The best hoaxes do more than fool someone. The succeed in deflating the self-important, exposing the foolish, and exploiting everyone's fascination with the eccentric. And the wider the audience for these hoaxes, the better. Schwartz recounts many such classic ""bald-headed whizzers,"" as they used to be called in the American West; some are pranks or puzzles to try on friends, some are folk tales dating back hundreds of years, and others are simply anecdotes and tall tales. The best, though, are taken from headlines of recent years, such as the story of G. Clifford Prout and his Society for Indecency to Animals, which preached that animal nudity was responsible for low moral standards and juvenile delinquency. Before the society was exposed as an elaborate hoax, Prout (played by actor Buck Henry) explained the society's stand on bloomers and knickers for farm animals on the Today show (twice) and the CBS Evening News. Schwartz's clear prose and dry style are complemented by Christiana's wry, whimsical drawings. And the author provides general notes on his sources and a full biography. As with his earlier works, The Cat's Elbow and Fat Man in a Fur Coat, it is impossible to classify this unusual collection. But for readers who love ""bald-headed whizzers"" or just stories with twists, this should prove irresistible.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 1986

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1986