It’s tough to make a book with a website companion and have one of the two not suck. Not only is Boese’s book about famous hoaxes through the centuries engaging, well-illustrated and engaging, but he has a website to go along with it that is equally fun to look at. The website contains further reading on topics in the book as well as containing a frequently-updated weblog of hoaxish information and pictures.
I’m pretty up on hoaxes, it’s one of my family’s little pet trivia issues. We know all about the Cardiff Giant, PT Barnum, Virginia Woolf dressing up as an Arab, all those stories. Even so Boese adds little bits to all of these stories that make them worth reading again. he also imposes a chronology of sorts on the evolution of the hoax -- going up to modern day and Internet hoaxes -- that forms a really useful framing of many of the stoeis he tells. I expected to find nothing new in this book, I was completely and pleasantly surprised to be wrong.