Reading guide for The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter

by Mark Seal

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2012, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Consider your first impression of Clark Rockefeller after reading the prologue. What kind of man is he? By the end of the book, how have your impressions of him - and Gerhartsreiter - shifted? Why did so many people fall for him? Would you?

  2. As Clark Rockefeller, Gerhartsreiter conned everyone in his path, including neighbors, pastors, college-admissions officers, and even his own wife, a Harvard Business school graduate. What does his successful streak of deceit reveal about human nature? What draws us to people, and signals to us that they are to be trusted?

  3. What role did Gerhartsreiter's interest in American media - specifically books, television, and films - play in the crafting of his multiple identities?

  4. In what ways do Gerhartsreiter's actions typify those of the archetypal immigrant? How common is it for people to reinvent themselves when they start a new life in a new place?

  5. What kind of personality do you think it takes to maintain a ruse for so long? Have you ever been tempted to pretend to be someone else?

  6. How does Mark Seal portray Clark's wife? Is he sympathetic to her, or condemning? What is your opinion of her? What clues might have tipped you off to Rockefeller's deceit had you been in her position?

  7. What do you think drove Gerhartsreiter to behave as he did for so many decades?

  8. One could argue that Gerhartsreiter was driven by a desire to achieve the American dream. What other public figures, high-profile or otherwise, can you think of who have permitted their aspirations to overtake their sense of right and wrong?

  9. Taking into consideration everything you've learned about Gerhartsreiter and his deceitful ways, are you able to believe the love he felt for his daughter was genuine?

  10. What is your opinion of the court's decision about the kidnapping charges? How do you think the murder charges will play out? If eventually released, what future do you imagine for Gerhartsreiter?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Plume. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Science of Lie Detection

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...
  • Book Jacket: This Blessed Earth
    This Blessed Earth
    by Ted Genoways
    For the Hammonds, a farming family in Nebraska, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.