Prince of Tricksters
The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook
University of Chicago Press 2016
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in BiographyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network December 19, 2016 Dave O'Brien
How should we understand the interwar years in Britain? In Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (University of Chicago Press, 2016) Matt Houlbrook, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Birmingham,tells the fascinating and complex story of Netley Lucas, a character whose fragmented and complex story offers clues to the social changes of the period. Netley’s career as confidence trickster, fraudulent journalist and editor, and creator of counterfeit royal biographies, forms the basis of an engagement with anxieties over class boundaries, the reassertion of social norms, and the nature of the historical source. The book is resplendent with a complex cast of characters and offers a rich portrait of the period. Houlbrook raises the question of how to tell the story of the trickster, if it is possible to capture a life of half-truths and duplicity, and the struggle of historical practice, ultimately causing us to question the possibility of history itself. The book is a fascinating tale, as well as being of interest across the humanities and to the general reader.