The Land That Never Was: Sir Gregor MacGregor And The Most Audacious Fraud In History
It's definitely an interesting story, and I got to learn a decent bit about Latin American wars of independence and the wanky way in which British people participated in them. The idea of joining a war voluntarily in order to get famous and make tons of money is obviously insane and worthy of condemnation ...more
Sinclair opens his book with the moment that settlers realize they've been bamboozled and abandoned. He then backtracks to MacGregor's murky pre-Poyais history, where he fabricated military successes, an aristocratic past, and his great land fraud. In retelling this colorful history, Sinclair relies primarily on the records of one of MacGregor's enemies and the swindler's own pompous lies, but documents contemporary sources as well. Critics cite the story's structure, not its writing, as its str...more
Gregor MacGregor reminds me of what would result if cells were scraped from Matthew Lesko and Sean Hannity and then grown in a Petri dish; the chimerical offspring would be equal parts charlatan and coward.
Sinclair's narration is lively and often left me both chuckling and sick to my stomach at the attempts of MacGregor to appear to be a great man, and the terrible amount of deat ...more