Westminster Professor Publishes Book on History's Most Outrageous Liars

Sep 15, 2015

Sept. 15, 2015 Whoppers explains history's biggest lies to readers of all ages SALT LAKE CITY - History is full of liars. From famous liars such as P. T. Barnum, who made a living off his deceptions, to more obscure figures such as Victor Lustig, who managed to "sell" the Eiffel Tower twice in the 1920s. In her new book, Whoppers: History's Most Outrageous Lies and Liars, Westminster professor Dr. Christy Seifert tells the stories of some of history's greatest liars and the crazy, incredible, but often quite successful stories they told. Seifert, an associate professor of communication at Westminster, has written a variety of articles and books on popular culture, feminism and young adult culture-including analyses of Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Jersey Shore. She recently published Virginity in Young Adult Literature After Twilight. In her latest endeavor, Seifert examines some of history's biggest fabricators, from slick salesmen to inheritance seekers, to just plain fakers. "I've always been interested in liars. I'm especially interested in liars who told outrageous lies-great big lies that people actually believed," said Seifert. "In some cases, the liars even convinced themselves. I think most people would agree that honesty is a virtue (I'm one of those people), so I'm fascinated by historical figures who abuse our human instinct to trust each other." Seifert wanted to write a young-adult nonfiction book for both boys and girls-one parents would enjoy too. "So much of today's popular young-adult literature is aimed primarily at girls and is fantasy. I wanted to explore a topic that anyone of any age could get wrapped up in."whoppers For Whoppers, Seifert worked nights and weekends researching characters. "I spent a lot of time just reading about historical figures who were liars. As you can imagine, there are a lot of liars out there. I narrowed my list of liars down to the 30 or so I cover in this book and categorized them. I read every book, article, or web site I could find about these people. Once I felt like I really knew the liar, and could understand why they lied, I was ready to start writing. I learned that the key to being a successful liar is confidence. But I also learned that liars, on the whole, are a pretty unhappy group." Whoppers is Seifert's second work of nonfiction, and will be released by Zest Books on September 1. The book includes illustrations, sidebars and quizzes, and provides an enlightening and fun romp through history, with an eye on the fundamental absurdity of human behavior. Seifert is an associate professor of communication at Westminster College and currently teaches in the competency-based Master of Strategic Communication program. She has a Ph.D. in rhetoric/composition and professional writing. She recently published Virginity in Young Adult Literature After Twilight in early 2015, and has published a number of magazine articles including "Bite Me (or Don't)," an analysis of the Twilight phenomenon-which has since been reprinted in two Pearson/Longman textbooks-"Reading Women's Lives" and "The Conscious Reader," as well as the essay collection Best Sex Writing 2010. Seifert's young adult novel, The Predicteds (Sourcebooks Fire), debuted in September of 2011, was voted "Best Dystopian Twist" by City Weekly, and was recently translated into German. Her novel has been published in three languages. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Park City TV, Good Day Utah, and a wide variety of radio shows to talk about her fiction and her analysis of sex and sexuality in young adult popular culture.    

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Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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