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Off the Stacks: ‘The Man in the Rockefeller Suit’ by Mark Seal

Off the Stacks: ‘The Man in the Rockefeller Suit’ by Mark Seal post image

“Off the Stacks” is a weekly-ish feature where I highlight a nonfiction book I’m curious about but will probably run out of hours in the day to actually read. I’m hoping that by highlighting titles this way, I can encourage other people to give the book a try, and, if it’s great, consider nominating it later this year for the Indie Lit Awards. Consider these books stamped with the “Sophisticated Dorkiness Seal of Curious Approval.”

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

the man in the rockefeller suitFull Title: The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor
Author: Mark Seal
Publisher: Viking Adult
Nonfiction Type: Biography
Topics Covered: True crime, espionage, counterfeiting, the Rockefellers

What It’s About: In a “stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story” journalist Mark Seal profiles Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant who came to the United States and passed himself off as a member of the Rockefeller family for more than 30 years.

As he took on a series of fictional identities, “Clark Rockefeller” moved through social spheres across the country, eventually marrying a businesswoman with a Harvard MBA. Rockefeller received his comeuppance, however, after his divorce, when a kidnapping charge exposed his ludicrous past and connection to a disappearance in California in the 1980s.

Why I Want to Read It: The author, Mark Seal, is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a magazine that doesn’t get recognized enough for publishing some fabulous narrative nonfiction pieces. He was also a 2010 National Magazine Award finalist for his profile of Clark Rockefeller, which I assume was the starting point for this book.

Who Else Might Like It: History buffs, fans of The Talented Mr. Ripley or Catch Me If You Can, those curious about lifestyles of the rich and famous

Reviews: Los Angeles Times |

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) June 10, 2011, 9:39 am

    I think I’d enjoy this one too.

    • Kim June 13, 2011, 8:49 pm

      Yeah, I think so. It seems like a good true crime story, which I’m a huge fan of.

  • Kathleen June 10, 2011, 12:29 pm

    I ordered this two days ago and will have it today from Amazon. I can’t wait to read it!

    • Kim June 13, 2011, 8:49 pm

      So jealous, I hope you enjoy it!

  • Cass June 12, 2011, 4:57 pm

    Was this at BEA? I feel like it was, and that I decided I didn’t want it, and now I do want it and I am sad. 😉

    • Kim June 13, 2011, 8:49 pm

      Hmm…. I didn’t see it at BEA. If I had, I’m sure I would have picked it up. I want to read it!

  • Andi June 13, 2011, 5:46 am

    I find Clark “Rockefeller” downright fascinating. Nutty, but fascinating!

    • Kim June 13, 2011, 8:50 pm

      Yes, those are my words exactly. He sounds like a fascinating and creepy fellow.

  • Aths June 16, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I definitely would want to read this one. I like the sound of it!

    • Kim June 16, 2011, 7:45 pm

      Me too! I hope I’ll be able too; depends when it comes in from the library :)