Bowyer, J. Barton. Cheating: Deception in War, Magic, Games, Sports, Sex, Religion, Business,
Con Games, Politics, and Espionage, Art and Science. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982.
This is a poor reference for a study of cheating in science in that the "Science" section mentioned
in the title consists of three or four pages on cheating scientists. There is a mention of Mendel
(no references), two short paragraphs on Cyril Burt, a mention of otherwise unidentified "eight
major scandals" and "some thirty researchers..." engaged in duplicity. There is the suggestion
that this constitutes a "...medical crime wave..." (p. 422) but there is little here to back it up.
Somehow the book manages to pick up the name of John C. Long as a "typical" case; mention is
also made of the Piltdown Hoax. This whole "review" of cheating in science runs from page 421
to 424 and that hardly constitutes a review of the field, much less is it evidence of a "...crime
I admit to not liking this book. It is, itself, a fraud. Some might think it "cute" that page 201
follows page 100 - a new form of lengthening a manuscript. The book sells itself as an overview
of cheating in so many areas and what it does in each of them is very mixed. There are boring
repetitions of particular cheats, a brief exposition of some famous frauds, and then a theory of
cheating which reduces cheating to power plays. To limit cheating to those power situations is to
make the same mistake as Machiavelli. Cheating is not limited to political situations but is social
as well. The dust jacket promises a theory of cheating but the "theory" is, at best, a typology of
There is one distinction I did like: in games, one is expected to deceive. Poker, for example, is
based on the bluff. In sports, on the other hand, cheating is not supposed to exist. Yet this sort of
distinction is immediately rendered next to useless when we realize that the quarterback is
supposed to deceive the other team on each play and that the rules of football allow for various
kinds of metadeceptions; finally, that coaches and schools cheat furiously in maintaining
"sporting reputations." Baseball is a sport; but the 1919 World Series is fair witness to the kinds
of deceptions which can be perpetrated. Now, about that clear distinction...
No bibliography, no references. The publisher claims that the author, J. Barton Bowyer, is the
pseudonym for more than one and fewer than five internationally recognized scholars.