Duped!: True Stories of the World's Best Swindlers

Duped!: True Stories of the World's Best Swindlers

by Andreas Schroeder

View All Available Formats & Editions

Eight true tales that expose some of the most outrageous swindlers of all time.

As long as there have been people willing to believe the unbelievable, people have been duped. In the best storytelling tradition, readers can follow the tales of:

  • How the Nazis planned to destroy the British economy during World War II by flooding the


Eight true tales that expose some of the most outrageous swindlers of all time.

As long as there have been people willing to believe the unbelievable, people have been duped. In the best storytelling tradition, readers can follow the tales of:

  • How the Nazis planned to destroy the British economy during World War II by flooding the world with millions of fake British banknotes
  • How an infamous radio broadcast had American citizens convinced that Martians were invading the country
  • How one of the 20th century's most elaborate scams -- conducting tours to the lost Tasaday tribe in the Philippines -- fooled the world's media and top scientists for nearly a decade.

The author's fascination with the boldness and inventiveness of the swindlers, as well as their motives, makes for a compelling read. The stories instill a sense of disbelief, amusement and even grudging admiration for these ingenious scam artists who often (but not always) meet a bad end.

Accompanied by graphic-style artwork, each tale offers a great escape for readers drawn to true stories presented in a lively fashion.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Ian Chipman
It's hard to imagine a more kid-friendly piece of nonfiction. The scams covered include a made-up Stone Age society discovered in the Philippines that fooled even National Geographic ... and a French rags-to-riches high-society swindle. Although the hook is baited with plenty of sensationalism...there's some good history to be learned beneath all the grandiose flimflammery. Schroeder writes in a lighthearted, chatty tone, equally matched by Simard's good-times black-and-white cartooning. A list of additional resources points the way toward more reading for kids tickled by such large-scale trickery.
Resource Links - Elizabeth Ford
The topic of the book is compelling and the writing of the cases is engaging.
Canadian Materials
The wonderful thing about Duped! is that it is a fun read for those interested in scams, but it can also lead, all on its own, to discussing an amazing variety of topics.
Sal's Fiction Addiction - Sally Bender
There is real value in sharing such a well-written and informative text.
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
This first volume in the "It Actually Happened" series relates eight stories about clever scams. These are (1) a presumed Stone-Age tribe, the so-called Tasaday, allegedly discovered in the Philippines, (2) a forged Shakespeare play, (3) a storied invasion by Martians, (4) P. T. Barnum's substitute for the deceased Jumbo, the elephant, (5) a yacht race purposely gone awry, (6) the world's most successful counterfeiting scam, (7) a French woman who defrauded banks, and (8) an imaginative non-scientist who claimed to have harnessed a type of energy he called Etheric Force using a fan and a cup of water. The stories are humorous, suspenseful, and detailed with characters that are more believable in the re-telling than they should have been while they played their pranks. Each chapter is divided into page-long subsections that move the stories quickly and clearly, and each ends with a section addressing the aftermath of the scam's unveiling. Simple but dramatic black, gray, and white line drawings convey the action and emotional content—pride in the scam, fear of being caught. The book concludes with a list of books for further reading about hoaxes and hoodwinkers, the author's bibliography, and an index. Readers will find the book amusing and goose-bumpy, even though they know the ending before they begin. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—This hybrid of nonfiction and graphic novel is a fun lesson on how the masses can be made into fools. Schroeder offers basic information about a variety of hoaxes, such as one of P. T. Barnum's scams, a forgery of Shakespeare, the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, and many more that are not so well known, but just as interesting. The book is set up like a short-story collection, with each hoax or swindler having a title, information on who is involved, the time period, and how the scam happened. Most of the information is told in paragraphs with black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout. The artwork has a lighthearted, fun feel with clean lines and distinguishable characters. Word bubbles accompany the drawings to lend a real graphic-novel look, and boxes of extra information are included. A good choice for nonfiction in the graphic-novel section or vice versa.—Mariela Siegert, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Schroeder unfurls eight stellar scams--perpetrated from the Philippines to your Phillips radio--that shook the gullible for all they were worth. As long as you are not on the receiving end, scams are enormously entertaining. Here readers learn of the Tasaday deception, the 18th-century Shakespeare fraud (with its sad father-son conflict), Orson Welles' radio hysteria (said Orson: "Every true artist must, in his own way, be a magician, a charlatan"), along with plenty of plain old swindles serving as cautionary tales that we may never learn from, as greed, need and desperation always have the upper hand. What makes Schroeder's presentation of these bamboozlements so pleasurable--other than the gotcha! factor--is the clarity of his narrative, the unhurried exploration of the dupe and the fact that the only things that get hurt here are egos and pocketbooks. He has also chosen the fleecings for their color--of the P.T. Barnum sort--rather than the darker work of Enron or no-bid military contracts. Simard's accompanying artwork lays out in grayscale the raw bones of the flimflams, driving home the salient moments when the ruse worked and then when things went south. A solid yet playful tour of the huckster's world. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
It Actually Happened Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Andreas Schroeder was the resident "Scam-meister" for 12 years on a popular radio show, where he uncovered ingenious frauds and hoaxes. He is an award-winning author who has published more than 20 books, including the highly successful Scams.

Remy Simard is a cartoonist, commercial artist and award-winning author and illustrator who has a long list of published children's books. His work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >