From a really interesting radio story on Alabama segregationist Asa Earl Carter,
who reinvented himself as a Cherokee novelist in the 1970s:
In the early 1990s, The Education of Little Tree became a publishing phenomenon. It told the story of an orphan growing up and learning the wisdom of his Native American ancestors, Cherokee Texan author Forrest Carter’s purported autobiography.
The book was originally published in 1976 to little fanfare and modest sales, but in the late 1980s, the University of New Mexico Press reissued it in paperback — and it exploded. By 1991, it reached the top of The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. It was sold around the world, praised by Oprah Winfrey and made into a Hollywood film.
The Education of Little Tree would go on to sell more than 1 million copies. But the book and its author were not what they seemed.
The Artful Reinvention of Klansman Asa Earl Carter [NPR]