Books: The Liar

SPECTACULAR ROGUE: GASTON B. MEANS by Edwin P. Hoyt. 352 pages. Bobbs-Merrill. $5.95.

Baron Munchausen was a grand character, but he was a fiction. Gaston Bullock Means, however, was for real. When he died at 59 in 1938, he was justifiably reckoned to be just about the most preposterous liar and swindler ever to smile at a sucker. In Spectacular Rogue, Author-Journalist Edwin Hoyt examines that certain smile with more journalistic competence than stylistic flair. Still, Gaston Means himself would be pleased.

The son of a North Carolina lawyer, Means's career in rascality was well under way at the age of ten, when...

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