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In what is his most interesting chapter, Foster explains how he deduced Joe Klein was "Anonymous," the author of the bestselling book Primary Colors. He also became involved in the Unabomber case and a search for the identity of the mysterious novelist Thomas Pynchon. Foster is sometimes said to use computer programs to determine an author's identity, but this is only partly true: he employs searchable databases, and then conducts all of the comparative analysis himself. "Give anonymous offenders enough verbal rope and column inches, and they will hang themselves for you, every time," he writes. The first three chapters--focusing on Shakespeare, Klein, and the Unabomber--are the best part of the book; the rest of it, at times, feels like filler. Yet as a whole, Author Unknown is a compelling blend of autobiography, detective story, and literary analysis. --John J. Miller
In his book writers from Shakespeare to Joe Klein and Monica Lewinsky are considered.
I hope in the future Dr. Foster will be able to enlighten us with his knowledge of the Jon Benet Ramsey case which he alludes to in this book.
Even more amazing, who would expected they'd be poring over the book in the wee hours because you can't wait to find out what happens next?
I was considering undertaking an author attribution project. No longer. Author Unknown gave me an engaging insight how the process should be done, well beyond my capabilities. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Bill Ragsdale
This book gives fascinating accounts of Foster's work in several famous "literary detective" cases. This review will focus on his suggestion that Henry Livingston Jr. Read morePublished on April 29, 2011 by Steven H. Propp
Frankly, I can't add anything unsaid that the reviewers have not. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Could not put it down. READ IT!Published on December 3, 2009 by ej25-techie
I bought this book and got to wondering about the author after the rambling comments he made regarding the JonBenet Ramsey case in the beginning of the book. Read morePublished on July 28, 2009 by Soccer Mom
I've been on the Internet before there was a Web, met my wife over a Multi-User Dungeon, and wrote my master's thesis on how anonymity on the Internet makes people act out. Read morePublished on August 20, 2008 by Michael J. Tresca
Author Unknown intrigued me for its interesting concept of the identification of writers based on their prior works. Read morePublished on April 16, 2006 by J. A. Northrop
Oh, no! Foster's most famous case of literary detective work, attributing The Elegy to Shakespeare instead of John Ford, has proved to be a bone-headed mistake that Foster now... Read morePublished on August 20, 2004 by John Granger
After reading the introduction, I was hooked. I knew I'd have to read the whole thing, no matter how tedious and technical it might be. Lucky for me, it was neither. Read morePublished on March 11, 2004 by Gypsi Phillips Bates
Don Foster is the guy who figured out who wrote Primary Colors, the anonymously published novel that satirized Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and for a time had all of... Read morePublished on January 26, 2004 by Debra Hamel