Considering the imposter both as an individual and as a social phenomenon, Sarah Burton investigates how imposters succeed and why they feel compelled to change their lives so dramatically. She also examines their romantic appeal and challenges the reader to examine the imposter in us all.
From servant girls who made themselves princesses and the footman who turned cannibal chief, to red Indians born hundreds of miles from the nearest tepee, university professors and surgeons with no qualifications but their genius, and men from all walks of life who turned out, on their deaths, to be women, Sarah Burton's exposition of the bold and bizarre world of the impostor is peopled by a huge cat of adventurers and escapologists. Most of them begin life as losers simply by virtue of their social position. Unable to change the world, they transform themselves and are reborn, this time having awarded themselves a sporting chance. The author tells a wealth of extraordinary stories, both tragic and comic, in which the reality behind these lives lived as lies is as fascinating as the impostors themselves. More than simply an exploration of how impostors succeed and why they feel compelled literally to change their lives, this work is also a meditation on identity truth and trust.
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