The Hoax : Clifford Irving burst burst onto the literary scene in 1971, claiming to have been granted the right to pen the authorized biography of the famously reclusive icon Howard Hughes. Forged documents seemed to bear out his claims, and McGraw-Hill awarded him a contract for the then-enormous sum of $750,000. When Hughes himself emerged from seclusion to denounce Irving as a charlatan, McGraw-Hill stood by their author. It wasn't until Hughes filed suit, and Swiss bank officials got involved, that Irving finally confessed. The Hoax, first published in 1981, is Irving's explosive account of his own misdeeds.