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New book explores decades-old hoax

Latham native became fascinated by literary controversy

“The Myth of Ephraim Tutt, Arthur Train and his Great Literary Hoax” by Molly Manning explores the literary hoax of Ephraim Tutt.

“The Myth of Ephraim Tutt, Arthur Train and his Great Literary Hoax” by Molly Manning explores the literary hoax of Ephraim Tutt. Submitted Photo

— The craziness of the controversy unfolds in Manning’s new book. Manning, who grew up in Latham and attended Shaker High School, received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University at Albany and earned a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City in 2005. She was introduced to Tutt’s story by a professor at UAlbany and with her love of history and law, became so interested that she began to conduct her own research on Tutt and Train in 2002. After reading more than 40 of Train’s books and spending numerous hours in the archival sections of libraries, she finally completed the book in 2010.

One of the best parts about her research, she said, was interviewing people who had firsthand knowledge about the hoax, including Train’s son as well as the son of the lawyer who sued Train.

“Oddly enough, Arthur Train to my knowledge didn’t mean it to be a hoax at all. He honestly believed people would know Ephraim Tutt was a fiction because they always knew he was a fiction,” Manning said. “(It was) published in good fun … wasn’t supposed to trick people.”

Similar to Tutt, today Manning works in Manhattan as a staff attorney in the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals. She said she’s started her next project on how books played an important role in fighting and winning World War II.

“The Myth of Ephraim Tutt, Arthur Train and his Great Literary Hoax” will be released on Monday, Nov. 19. Manning will be at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Colonie Center on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. for a book signing.

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