The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal

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Synopsis

A real-life Talented Mr. Ripley, the unbelievable thirty-year run of a shape-shifting con man.

The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man-because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany. At seventeen, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began.

Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning twelve-year marriage to a rising star businesswoman with a Harvard MBA who believed she'd wed a Rockefeller.

The imposter charmed his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions-working on Wall Street, showing off an extraordinary art collection-until his marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter, which exposed his past of astounding deceptions as well as a connection to the bizarre disappearance of a California couple in the mid-1980s.

The story of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit is a probing and cinematic exploration of an audacious imposer-and a man determined to live the American dream by any means necessary.
 

About Mark Seal

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A journalist for thirty-five years, MARK SEAL is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the author of Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Death in Africa, about the murdered wildlife filmmaker and naturalist Joan Root. Seal was a 2010 National Magazine Award finalist for his Vanity Fair profile of Clark Rockefeller. He lives in Aspen, Colorado.
 
Published June 2, 2011 by Plume. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Kirkus Reviews

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Readers will marvel at Gerhartsreiter’s ability to bamboozle his way into tony social clubs, jobs at eminent financial institutions (he had no qualifications or experience) and, most crucially, into the affections of wife Sandra Boss, a savvy financial wunderkind who nonetheless funded “Rockefell...

Mar 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The New York Times

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How a 17-year-old immigrant came to America and assumed a succession of identities, eventually passing himself off as one Clark Rockefeller.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

BC Books

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Generations of Americans becoming financial slaves, buying degrees, learning and killing themselves just to get a step ahead in life, while Mr. Gerhartsreiter / British Royal Christopher Chichester XIII,/ movie producer Crowe / Rockefeller / Captain Chip Smith strolls right in, snags jobs with W...

May 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The Washington Times

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The card read “Christopher Chichester, XIII Bt, San Marino, CA.” Mr. Seal walks us through the various cons played out in San Marino, culminating in the disappearance in 1985 of relatives of Chichester’s landlady.

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Los Angeles Times

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Right before Seal's book went to press, authorities charged Gerhartsreiter with the murder of Jonathan Sohus, who disappeared with his wife, Linda, in 1985 under suspicious circumstances from the San Marino property where Gerhartsreiter, calling himself Christopher Chichester, lived in a small gu...

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Christian Science Monitor

Veteran journalist Mark Seal’s latest book, The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, tells the tale of a man who managed to reinvent himself multiple times, the last of which involved appropriating the name and mannerisms of one of America’s most legendary families.

Jun 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

USA Today

With the right upper-class cred and enough chutzpah, you can get away with anything — possibly even murder.That's the lesson in The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, Mark Seal's eye-popping, stranger-than-fiction tale about the impostor who called himself Clark Rockefeller.His real name is Christian...

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Dallas News

We are led to suspect that Gerhartsreiter may have killed two people, but the hows and whys, even the evidence are scattered through the book so even that drama becomes fragmented and underplayed.

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Oregon Live

Rebaking his 2009 Vanity Fair story about the immigrant who changed his name and fooled New York society, Mark Seal has produced a tasty soufflé of deceit.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Macleans

But then Christian Karl Gerharts­reiter doesn’t fit into the category of “most people.” In The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, Mark Seal skilfully dissects this imposter’s lengthy run as Clark Rockefeller, a fictitious scion of the famous family.

Jul 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Bookmarks Magazine

Veteran journalist and Vanity Fair contributing editor Mark Seal was a 2010 National Magazine Award finalist for the article that later grew into The Man in the Rockefeller Suit.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Time Out New York

Seal follows Gerhartsreiter from his youth in rural Germany to the top of American society as he adopted the moniker and played the part of a man called Clark Rockefeller.

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

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