Home » Self-Publishing » Hoax Author Clifford Irving Self-Publishes the Book that Earned Him a Cover Story in Time Magazine

Hoax Author Clifford Irving Self-Publishes the Book that Earned Him a Cover Story in Time Magazine

28 March 2012

From a press release:

Best-selling author Clifford Irving, once the most newsworthy writer in America, announced that a dozen of his books, including the notorious The Autobiography of Howard Hughes, and Jailing, his unpublished prison journal, are released through Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’s Nook book platforms.

Irving’s books, long out of print, were transformed to digital format as a birthday present by his son who was 11 at the time of his father’s jailing.

. . . .

The Autobiography of Howard Hughes, the 1972 hoax that brought the eccentric billionaire storming out of seclusion to halt its publication, earned Irving 16 months of federal prison time. Tens of thousands of copies of the hardback were destroyed by publishers McGraw-Hill exactly 40 years ago, and since then, until now through Kindle, the book has never been published in the USA other than in a private edition.

Link to the rest at e-releases

Here are some further details of the Irving hoax from 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace:

When asked in early 1972, if his book was a fake, Irving declared, “It is not.”

Irving said he had met the recluse. “Hughes is a man almost as tall as I am, 6 foot 3,” Clifford Irving said in the Jan. 16, 1972, interview. Irving added that the millionaire weighs “under 140 pounds.”

When asked if Hughes wears a beard, Irving replied, “Not a real one.”

“He has on occasion worn false beards and false mustaches and wigs,” Irving said.

“There’s a James Bond setup here that’s out of the worst possible detective novel you could ever read,” he said.

Less than two months after the CBS News interview, Irving admitted that his book was a hoax. Time magazine dubbed him “Con Man of the Year.”

[Continuing from CBS News] So how exactly did Irving develop the idea to create an autobiography of Howard Hughes?

“I was reading a copy of Newsweek, which told of Hughes’ isolated state in the Bahamas…and I thought, ‘What a wonderful idea to write a biography of him, an authorized biography, and pretend that he’s giving me the information,'” Irving says.

Irving said he believed Howard Hughes was too ill to come forward and repudiate the book.

“I figured….I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Irving adds. “It was a wild idea. I was running away from home. I was being a bad boy. And I loved every minute of it.”

. . . .

“McGraw Hill came to me and said, ‘You have got to do something. You’ve got to stand up and fight and say this if for real. And we’ve arranged for you to go on 60 Minutes right after the Super Bowl,'” says Irving. “So with my heart fluttering and that manuscript clutched against my chest for protection, I–I faced you.”

Link to the rest at CBS News


One Comments to “Hoax Author Clifford Irving Self-Publishes the Book that Earned Him a Cover Story in Time Magazine”

  1. Anyone even remotely interested in Clifford Irving should rent Orson Welles’ “F for Fake.” It’s a phenomenal movie that’s quite unconventional. It’s basically Welles ruminating on the nature of art, fakery, and storytelling, all the while covering Irving, Irving’s hoax Hughes biography, the infamous art forger Elmyr de Hory, and so much more.

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