Customer Reviews: The C.S. Lewis Hoax
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on January 7, 1999
Lord Acton said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. St. Paul said that the love of money is the root of all evil. These two principles have combined in the C. S. Lewis literary estate. As one of the many economically foolish things CSL did in his life, he left the management of his literary estate to two friends who did not have the experience or time to manage it. At the first opportunity his friends unloaded the management upon the first person handy, a student from America who was keenly interested in Lewis' books and occasionally visited him in the last summer of his life.
Predictable results occurred. This person wielded power over publishers who made huge profits from the books. He had the power to say which academics had access to certain Lewis archives and which got permission to quote Lewis. The publishers had to include this person's book introductions in which he rewrote himself in a favorable light into history. Ambitious specialists needed to agree with the claims. One such claim was that this person was Lewis' live in, full time, private secretary for several years. This person also "discovered" many unknown Lewis literary works and revisions of existing works that were significantly lower in literary quality than the original, known Lewis literature and in some cases contained religious and ethical themes that were the exact opposite of Lewis' adamantly held views.
In this book Kathryn Lindskoog does a thorough job of investigative journalism in deflating much of the rewritten history and "new" Lewis works with documentary evidence and eye witness accounts. This book reads much like a Chapman Pincher espionage expose. This book attracted much attention, and further eye witness accounts and leads to more documentary evidence and was followed by a second book, "Light in the Shadow Lands," five years later.
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on January 5, 2008
Ms. Lindskood's book is quite insightful. It causes one to revaluate statements attributed to C.S. Lewis by those, like Walter Hooper, who have capitalized handsomely off Lewisania. For example, "The Dark Tower" allegedly written by Lewis is most likely not Lewis' work and is, at worse, another fraud perpetrated by Walter Hooper (pp. 34-37). Lindskood points out that Walter Hooper was a devout Christian (p. 117). However, I disagree. Even Ms. Lindskood notes the liberty Hooper took by defaming C. S. Lewis and his brother Warren Lewis in the book "They Stand Together" (Chapter 8). Hooper depicts Warren Lewis as a hopeless alcoholic and implies a homosexual relationship between C. S. Lewis and Arthur Greeves. What one easily infers from the evidence is that Walter Hooper was an opportunist. He claims to have been Secretary to C. S. Lewis even though no one knew about it. Warren Lewis, Lewis' brother, was quite irritated by Walter Hooper coming over from the United States and making all sorts of claims such as this. Hooper claims to quote letters and such from Lewis but has never produced the originals. It seems he makes stuff up in any biographical reference he makes about Lewis. Most noteworthy is the self serving nature of all of Hooper's quotes, such as the one relating to Lewis' alleged reference to Hooper as the son he never had. Hooper is definitely a C. S. Lewis enthusiast; however, it is tainted with jealousy and mischief. For example, profiting from Lewis, making stuff up about him and defaming Lewis and his brother all causes one to hearken to this. Hooper was very persistent in pushing himself into Lewis affairs which Warren Lewis himself points out. It reminds me of Howard K Stern imposing himself, to the point of being a nuisance, into Anna Nicole Smith's life. It also reminds me of Hank Hanegraaff suddenly appearing as director of the late Walter R Martin's Christian Research Institute and attributing statements to Walter Martin after Walter Martin's death. It reminds me of the false accusations of Pietro Aretino against Michelangelo, accusing him of being a homosexual when Michelangelo would not let Aretino take his artwork. Beware of your admirers. If you have any talent, your worse enemies will be those most flattered by you. Any defamation of your sexual morality or sobriety will most likely reflect the character of the jealous weirdo who wants to be part of your world. It is noteworthy that none of the attention talented people have given to their most zealous admirers has benefited them, but has in fact hurt them and has even damaged or tarnished any legacy they have left. I suppose the talented party pays less critical attention to their admirers, not realizing that they have a devil in their midst because they are less moved to view critically the appreciator of their talent. Chances are, some fans are nothing more than stalkers: I fail to see the difference between a Robert Bardo and a Walter Hooper. A stalker wants what you have and they hate you for having it. This seems to be the case with Walter Hooper.
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VINE VOICEon June 29, 2000
All true lovers of the writings and person of C.S. Lewis, and all academics interested in Lewis from a literary standpoint will benefit greatly from this book.
Lindskoog pins down, through incredible academic detective work, what many of us suspected for some time, but were unable to voice or prove, namely, that Lewis's "literary executors" have tried (and in many cases succeeded) in pulling the wool over our eyes!
Lindskoog has demonstrated that many of the quaint little stories about bonfires, lost manuscripts, personal secretaries, etc. have, in many cases, been outright fabrications foisted on an unsuspecting public. It's a shame that in the confusion following Lewis's death, a better executor could not have been found; perhaps, if this had been the case, much trouble would have been averted.
Well, it's all water under the bridge now. The truth is out there, and real Lewis scholars know what it is. Dr. Hooper and his cronies have been thoroughly discredited. Now if only he would quit writing introductions. . .
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on September 7, 2006
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was only recently struck by this obsession with C. S. Lewis and have come to notice the name Walter Hooper everywhere. I would have believed he was who he claimed to be had I not by accident picked up this book.

I realize that the author is biased, occasionally provides evidence that are somewhat sketchy, and--of all things--attacks Hooper's sexual preference, but her sarcasm is brilliant. Besides, no matter how one-sided she is, facts are facts. I only feel sorry that this had to happen. I would have loved to see how Lewis's papers would turn out had they fallen into the right hands.
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on September 29, 2007
As a serious student of literary fraud I join with those who were disappointed at the extent to which questions raised go unanswered in this book. Since there are two other similar titles by the same author, perhaps I should explore them before coming to a conclusion ... however, conjecture doesn't solve anything and that's the problem with this book. A bit of "what if?" is tolerable but "Hoax" goes on and on. The only solid stuff is in comparing old text and new, telling me the author likely didn't have the resources to pursue more sophisticated investigative techniques. In which case the publisher owed it to readers to provide those resources. For all that, I found the book readable and it or one of her other similar titles would no doubt be a "must" for those interested in the controversy. Lindskoog is on the right track but too often her wheels are just spinning. As she is at the head of the pack on this one, it would be great if a publisher would advance her what is needed to bring in the necessary specialist hounds to back her up.
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on September 27, 2001
. . .this remarkable bit of literary detection by Mrs. Lindskoog.
Informed hobbits have known for quite some time that there have been serious issues of legitimacy and integrity surrounding the writings and literary legacy of CS Lewis, close friend and fellow Inkling of our own great Professor. In this volume, Mrs. Lindskoog traces the history and lineage of Lewis' literary legacy and demonstrates that there has, in all likelyhood, been a great deal of fraud and deceit practiced upon lovers of Lewis by a number of individuals who should have known better.
This hobbit can only hope that Mrs. Lindskoog's book quickly returns to print and is widely read and disseminated among those of our fellows who truly loved Mr. Lewis and respected his legitimate work.
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on August 3, 2010
I am glad to see this book is NOT in print. The author attempted to smear the reputation of Walter Hooper by claiming that he had forged the text of Lewis' posthumous The Dark Tower and had overstated his claims of friendship with Lewis. In fact, in 1992 Lindskoog herself revealed that she forged letters in support of her claims. Several independent handwriting experts also confirmed that the manuscripts were written by Lewis. So `nuff said; this book deserves to be used as kindling.
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