The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter

Mark Seal. Viking, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-02274-8
Hiding behind one of America’s wealthiest names, a German immigrant duped the world in a decades-long charade that Vanity Fair contributing editor Seal unravels in this fascinating account. Born Christian Gerhartsreiter in Germany in 1961 , he left home at age 17, landing with an acquaintance in Connecticut. Over the next 14 years, he carefully honed his impersonation skills. He shed his German accent and began acquiring aliases, first in wealthy San Marino, Calif., and then, in 1992, in Manhattan society, where he made a calculatedly low-key entrance as James Frederick Mills Clark Rockefeller. He soon married Sandra Boss, a financial executive, whose money Rockefeller spent with abandon. Only when she filed for divorce after 12 rocky years of marriage did his carefully constructed facade crumble, and he went on the run with their young daughter, sparking an FBI chase and a prison sentence for kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Seal (Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Death in Africa) brilliantly reconstructs and dissects Gerhartsreiter’s strange life, weaving in interviews with those who knew—or thought they knew—one of the men he pretended to be along the way. (Earlier this month, the L.A. Times reported that prosecutors have brought an indictment against Gerhartsreiter in a 1980s murder in San Marino.) (June)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-52642-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-50645-5
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-51585-3
Paperback - 345 pages - 978-0-452-29803-3
Hardcover - 567 pages - 978-1-4104-4108-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-48351-0
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