Truth or Fiction: Does Anyone Know The Difference Anymore?

It has to be related to television and the movies and even computer and video games. All that ‘virtual reality’ has people not knowing the difference between fact and fiction. Each new generation becomes further removed from the realities of life in general. Television shows and films take great license in portraying true events. What that really means is that a mere kernel, the gist of an idea or story, was based on a true event. Anything after that is complete fiction. But, people take it as a true story, nonetheless.

Apparently the same thing is happening in the book world too. Someone wants to write an autobiography, but guess what? The facts just aren’t that interesting, after all. And publishers want extraordinarily interesting personal stories that will sell well.

Monty Roberts, the so-called ‘horse whisperer’ who wrote what became a national best-seller called “The Man Who Listens to Horses” sits accused of writing reams and reams of fiction and passing it off as truth. Read another book, “Horse Whispers and Lies” by Debra Ann Ristau and Joyce Renebome, and you’ll get a whiff of the kinds and numbers of untruths that graced Mr. Roberts’ book. They are mammoth in nature.

In trying to cover his tracks, Mr. Roberts has alternately stuck by his stories, or changed certain names and events to jive with disputed facts. Some facts, for example, facts differ between his book published in America and the one published overseas. The disputed details surfacing in “Horse Whispers and Lies”, however, are so numerous that one must believe that the only thing true about Monty Roberts’ writings about himself are that he was born, he rode and trained horses, he had some dealings with the Queen of England and that he is now lucky enough to own a very lush horse estate/training facility.

Some people in the horse world who have become so enamored of Mr. Roberts have stated that they don’t care if everything he wrote was false, because his message about the humane treatment of horses is so valuable. This is a dangerously narrow-minded view that is detrimental to intelligent readers everywhere because it devalues the meaning of the word ‘nonfiction’ as noninvented or nonimagined subject matter.

It also sends the wrong message to children who might grow up and become writers themselves someday. It says that, in effect, lying is okay; facts and fiction are interchangeable, and absolutely everything must be overly dramatized to sell.

Jonathan Karp, a Random House editor said: “I think that nonfiction writers are doing it more and more. I was meeting a writer the other day and the writer said, ‘Hey, I invented some dialogue, is that all right?’ I said absolutely not. And the writer said ‘I really want it to be vivid, and I know these two people met. What’s the harm?’

It’s immoral, that’s the harm!

People like Monty Roberts, however, apparently don’t get it when it comes to ethics in writing. What they do get are large advances from publishing houses for authors willing to call their works ‘memoirs’ rather than fiction and heavy publicity, particularly in the form of highly coveted television interviews, which are far easier to procure when ‘true story’ is written across the cover. (originally posted in 1999) — For more literary scams and fraudulent authors reports and  warnings about author fraud visit

More Monty Roberts Horse Trainer Fraud Reports


5 responses to “Truth or Fiction: Does Anyone Know The Difference Anymore?

  1. Its true, and it is adding to the destruction of civilized society. The same applies to Hollywood as well. I remember back in high school our literature teacher used to make us watch Movies, such as Hamlet, or other representations of books because half the students were to dumb or lazy to read. My point is, if you ask a student these days about something Like the Battle of Thermopylae they will recite a bunch of nonsense they saw from the Movie 300. It disgusts me.

  2. Really? Are you kidding me? You have slandered a man who has dedicated his life to the humane treatment and training of horses. I just read your article and saw NO proof of your allegations. Do you have any? If so, why not show facts instead of your jaded opinion? In today’s liberal, biased media format, we the reader get half truths and the author’s one sided view. The view that you are trying to state as fact is just you trying to sell your name and story to naive, ignorant readers who will believe it because it is in print. Also, anyone who has ever been sued knows that our legal system, thanks to liberals and greedy attorneys, is set to protect the guilty and NOT the innocent. This forces the innocent party to negotiate or go broke defending their innocence. If you want respect as a writer, write the facts!!!!

    • This is a perfect example of a comment from someone who says she read the article here but in reality she has NOT because, Jean, you have no clue as to the intent of the article or its meaning within the literary world.

      Proof? You obviously never visited the HORSE WHISPERS AND LIES website ( and explored what his own family has written about him (with the support and research of a huge number of people who knew Monty personally or had the misfortune to have done business with him). And contrary to what you may think, the lawsuits that were filed at that time against Monty were based upon serious facts. And if you don’t want to read other people’s opinions – don’t visit a BLOG site, for Christ’s sake — that’s what blogs are!

      Here’s the opening paragraph from a TIME MAGAZINE article about Monty Roberts:,9171,989824,00.html#ixzz0d15lnzVU — Books: Horse of a Different Color — By John Skow and James Willwerth/Aspen

      “To put the matter politely, memoirs are self-serving. Still, it’s something of a shock to learn that Monty Roberts’ enormously popular, enormously self-approving memoir The Man Who Listens to Horses may assay out as part fiction. Call it horse puckey for the soul, if charges by Monty’s younger brother Larry and others close to the author’s life are to be credited. By these accounts, backed up by TIME’s reporting, the stirring tale with more than 800,000 copies in print–out this month in paperback–contains an embarrassing number of seeming untruths, some harmless, others outrageous.

      Your last sentence regarding innocent people going broke trying to defend themselves — my God – that’s precisely what happened to the poor woman who was nearly killed as a result of Monty’s blatant lies about training a mustang horse (not only his lies, but the fact that the judge in the case was a huge supporter of Monty himself and socialized with him. Monty was/is VERY RICH and the woman was not.) Lastly, your comment in itself is just a matter of OPINION and frankly it doesn’t even deserve to have been posted here, but thank you anyway – now we get to pop in the TIME MAGAZINE remarks and link!

      You have shown yourself to be one of the “naive and ignorant readers” to which you refer.

  3. Pingback: Anti-Monty Roberts Book Review-”Horse Whispers & Lies” « USA Views: The Voice of Reason

  4. Pingback: News Media the Dupe of P.R. People « USA Views: The Voice of Reason

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