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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
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 ›
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.
Abagnale is anything but dull. Born with an IQ clearly higher than the average man, he always was focused on getting around the rules--first, with his dad's credit card. It is clear that the beginning stages of his life of crime started when he was able to successfully get away with small infractions such as these. Later, Abagnale would resort to check fraud, and due to the lax restrictions on checks, get away with it. An ample lesson to banks and security experts: always try to think of every possible scenario because someone will exploit the situation.
The fact that he was able to get onto airlines, without paying, and sit in the cockpit is a sign that there have been many loopholes in our national airline security for quite some time. Now, Abagnale is no terrorist, but as the book explains, this still does not excuse the airlines for allowing mistakes of this sort to go through. It shows the incompetence of our bureacracies and that little has been done since this book has come off the press.
Even more ironic, and perhaps most damning to professors in our "higher learning" institutions, is that he was able to be a professor and gain wide recognition from the students. This is an indication that our professors really don't have any special expertise and merely read and paraprase what they are told. This is a damaging book to all those in authority--it a sign that one single individual, with a mission, is able to exploit the weakneseses out of our collective incompetence and stupidity.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 9 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 11 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