Catch Me If You Can Paperback – Aug 1 2000
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When this true-crime story first appeared in 1980, it made the New York Times bestseller list within weeks. Two decades later, it's being rereleased in conjunction with a film version produced by DreamWorks. In the space of five years, Frank Abagnale passed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He did it by pioneering implausible and brazen scams, such as impersonating a Pan Am pilot (puddle jumping around the world in the cockpit, even taking over the controls). He also played the role of a pediatrician and faked his way into the position of temporary resident supervisor at a hospital in Georgia. Posing as a lawyer, he conned his way into a position in a state attorney general's office, and he taught a semester of college-level sociology with a purloined degree from Columbia University.
The kicker is, he was actually a teenage high school dropout. Now an authority on counterfeiting and secure documents, Abagnale tells of his years of impersonations, swindles, and felonies with humor and the kind of confidence that enabled him to pull off his poseur performances. "Modesty is not one of my virtues. At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues," he writes. In fact, he did it all for his overactive libido--he needed money and status to woo the girls. He also loved a challenge and the ego boost that came with playing important men. What's not disclosed in this highly engaging tale is that Abagnale was released from prison after five years on the condition that he help the government write fraud-prevention programs. So, if you're planning to pick up some tips from this highly detailed manifesto on paperhanging, be warned: this master has already foiled you. --Lesley Reed
"A book that captivates from first page to last."
-West Coast Review of Books
"Whatever the reader may think of his crimes, the reader will wind up chortling with and cheering along the criminal."
"Zingingly told... richly detailed and winning as the devil."
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Top Customer Reviews
Older reades will see some similarities in the true book/movie, "The Great Imposter" which starred Tony Curtis.
This book was an excellent read. It was quick, entertaining, informative, and slightly fascinating. The author does seem like a chauvinistic pig at the beginning of the book, but keep in mind he was describing himself as he was: a sixteen year old boy who had no ethic and moral system to adhere.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have been recommending it to many of my friends. It's one of the most intriguing autobiographies I've read in years.
Frank Abagnale tells of his adventures living the life of James Bond without the killing, using his wits and charm to get what he wants. It is romanticized, but plausible.
Do I advise you to read the book first so as to avoid the skew of injecting Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio? You know the successful movie. It is hard not to hear DiCaprio's voice while reading Frank's dialogue. Because the movie has such skilled actors and good editing, it comes across tightly and exciting.
Do I instead advise you to watch the movie first because it will be easier to imagine the details of check fraud production? The book is not well-edited, and suffers from mediocre writing, and any help moving it along will help.
The book is less fun than the movie. There is much more to absorb, more details to consider, and more of Abagnale in the story. His ego plays heavily into the text, and this gets old. His story does not end with this book, but additional chapters haven't been included.
How true is it all? Who can say? Some of it is verifiable, but Abagnale was, in many cases, the only one there. He fabricated so much of his existence, knowing when it is the truth and when it is storytelling is impossible. To enjoy the book, the reader must take the author at his word.
The parental drive Frank wants from Carl feels less evident, missing the sensitive looks and words as played in the movie by Hanks and DiCaprio.
In reading other 'how I lived as a criminal' books by cons like Jack 'Murph the Surf' Murphy, I have had to remember writing skill isn't why they are authors. It is proficiency in thievery, conning, or some other great misdeed.Read more ›
His cons were amazing in their audacity and intelligence. Frank has a very sharp mind, but it soon became apparent that his greatest asset was his charisma. Everyone instantly liked this handsome and personable young man and just wanted to believe his claims. Had he been twice as smart, but half as charming, I doubt he could have pulled off everything he did.
It was easy to enjoy reading about his ripping off of large companies(Pan-Am particularly),hotels and banks, but it became less fun when he began stealing directly from everyday people. Once,lurking around a bank where he had just opened an account, he noticed people often did not put their account number on their deposit slips. Being the enterprising young man that he was, he swiped a few dozen slips and wrote HIS account number in. He then replaced the slips. When he checked his account later, he had over forty thousand dollars in his balance. He made a withdrawal and got out of Dodge.
Another such incident took place in Boston. Amazingly, on the same day he more or less conned his way out of jail, hours before the FBI arrived for him, he decided to rob a bank. Not with a gun, but with a sack and a uniform.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent Book! Great Read! We had seen the movie first, and wanted to know more about this interesting man. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Queenie girl
This is a great read. So MUCH better than the movie. I re-read it every so many years and enjoy it every time. Worth the money for sure.Published 6 months ago by Canada3939
This book is an amazing story of a young man who was able to act so "truthfully" to his detriment. Thankfully his life was turned around.Published on Dec 2 2013 by Kanden
Frank Abagnale was a sixteen-year-old with his first checking account. It's no surprise that he quickly overspends and his account is overdrawn. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2013 by John M. Ford
The book has much more depth than the movie.
Having said that... I have purchased the movie again.
I have to come to terms with... he caught my attention... Read more
One of the most intriguing moments of this autobiography comes in the first few pages of the book. When asked why he used his dad's Mobil card in order to steal money, he responds,... Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by S. Keough
This book relates the exploits of the young Frank Abagnale, Jr., master con-artist. When Abagnale's parents split up in the early 1960s, Frank went to live with his father. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Amazon Customer