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Catch Me If You Can [Paperback]

Frank W. Abagnale , Stan Redding
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2000
Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history.  In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was twenty-one. Known by the police of twenty-six foreign countries and all fifty states as "The Skywayman," Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the lam-until the law caught up with him.  Now recognized as the nation's leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades, and ingenious escapes-including one from an airplane-make Catch Me If You Can an irresistible tale of deceit.

The uproarious, bestselling true story of the world's most sought-after con man currently in development as a DreamWorks feature film.

"I stole every nickel and blew it on fine threads, luxurious lodgings, fantastic foxes, and other sensual goodies.  I partied in every capital in Europe and basked on all the world's most famous beaches."

Frequently Bought Together

Catch Me If You Can + The Wolf of Wall Street + Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison
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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

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."
-Charlottesville Progress

"Zingingly told...  richly detailed and winning as the devil."
-Kirkus Reviews

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding! Nov. 10 2003
Saw (and bought) the movie then had to find out what was true and what were Hollywood embellishments... so I quickly ordered the book.
I was absolutely amazed that the real story of Mr. Abagnale's "escapades" were even more cleaver and brazen than in the movie. To think that this kid was able to convince people that he was a pilot for a major airline, a pediatrician, a lawyer (who actually passed the BAR exam without ever taking even one course in law school!), and a college professor... not to mention the most prolific bum check artist that ever lived!!!
You can read many reviews here that condemn Mr. Abagnale's actions and feel that he glamorizes theft and deception. But even young Abagnale had a sense of morality, albeit a bit skewed. He would not allow himself to swindle the common man or take money from anyone who could not afford the hit.
Upon maturity (and after doing some hard time) he found that he could use his talents and knowledge to help educate and protect the very same companies and institutions from being defrauded by other would-be "Frank Abagnales". There is little doubt that his expertise in this area and his willingness to share his knowledge with them has saved these companies billions of dollars. So if you really think about it, the banks and corporations that he conned actually just paid into a scholarship fund for someone who, down the road, went to work for them! Alas, poor Pan Am paid the bulk of his tuition.
This is a brilliant, brilliant book...I simply could not put it down. It is very well written and extremely entertaining. It is simply incredible that this is not a work of fiction... everything can be verified. The best book I have read in years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true and daring story of a teanaged con man March 9 2003
I've seen the movie and read the book and I enjoyed both. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the con man of the title being pursued by Tom Hanks as the FBI agent. The book is a true story about a 16 year old New York runaway who leads the FBI and other law enforcement on a 5 year globe trotting escapade of bouncing check, forged payroll checks and life in the fast lane. The author impersonated a Pan American pilot, a pediatric doctor, and an attorney among others. He did this mostly as a teenager who dropped out of high school. Obviously he is not your average drop out, but an intelligent and scheming confidence man. He was more that just a two-bit paper hanger, as he developed techniques using the Federal Routing identification number that had not been used before. After being caught and imprisoned in France, Sweden and United States, Frank Abagnale used his expertise and talents to improve the check banking system, help catch other criminals, work with the FBI, and start his own secure documents corporation. In the back of the book is a question and answer section with the author where he reveals that the movie is 80% accurate. Obvious you can not put a book covering 5 years into a 2+hour movie so some events were altered, and of course some events in the book were omitted from the movie. I give this book my highest recommendation as a fun and enjoyable read. I myself enjoyed all that much more knowing that this is a true story, written by the actual perpetrator, of his exploits as mostly a teenager. Adults as well as teenagers will like this book. This is a an easy read and a fun book to read, I hope you enjoy it as much as me. I'm also planning to read the author's other book, "The Art of the Steal".
Older reades will see some similarities in the true book/movie, "The Great Imposter" which starred Tony Curtis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Career of a Master Con. Dec 11 2002
By tvtv3
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is the autobiography of master con man, Frank Abagnale. By the time he was 20, he had traveled all over the world; stolen millions of dollars; passed himself off as a Pan Am pilot, a pediatrician, a lawyer, and a sociology professor. Abagnale invented modern fraud and now he works at defunking it.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wits, Charm and Ego Feb. 16 2004
I'm conflicted. I saw the movie before reading this book. Having seen the movie, I find objectivity impossible.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent....better than the movie!
Published 12 days ago by Edna E. McCauley
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story of someone who was able to act so "truthfully" with a...
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 11 months ago by Kanden
4.0 out of 5 stars Hacker Without a Computer
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 more
Published 21 months ago by John M. Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Caught Me!
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
Published on Sept. 7 2010 by videomovies
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart-racer!
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 more
Published on July 18 2004 by S. Keough
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
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 more
Published on July 13 2004 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a well made novel, but the ending has no meaning
"Catch Me If You Can" is a fun and enjoyable read and is easily as good as many current novels. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Traveler
3.0 out of 5 stars The true story of a fake..
Frank W. Abagnale's true crime/memoir book tells the story of a lost time when people were more trusting, and airlines that actually first-class. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by Peter LaPrade
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better books I've read
I picked this book up at a NAVY Exchange in the UK. As always they had a limited supply of products, usually shipped over from stores such as Wal-Mart with surplus inventories,... Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down - Fascinating!
This book will have you rooting for the bad guy! He is larger than life, smooth-talking, and above all, gutsy. Read more
Published on June 24 2004
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