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Catch Me If You Can Hardcover – Unabridged, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Movie Tie-In Edition with Afterword and Q&A with author. The true story of a real fake. True Crime.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st Movie Tie-In Edition edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965496309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965496308
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (597 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed the movie, but I did not believe any of it. How could a 16 year old pull off all these scams posing successfully as an airline pilot, lawyer, doctor, and FBI agent. Only in Hollywood! I had to read the book to uncover the truth. To my amazement, almost nothing in the movie was dramatized. Frank Abagnale did it all. And, this even includes the acrobatic escape from a commercial plane as it lands.

The book depicts a far richer story than the movie. At the start, the family situation is more complex. The scams are more intricate. The career path is more extraordinary. The movie skipped over interesting jobs, including a stint as a college sociology teacher.

Also amazing is that this teenager acquired far more knowledge about the meaning of every single digit on a personal check than any banker I know. And, I know, having been engaged in banking and finance for over two decades.

Frank's character development make the whole story more likely. Frank was not your regular 16 year old dude. At 16, he could easily pass for a fit 25 year old. He was 6 feet tall, 170 pounds. He also acquired quite a real world education by hanging out with his Dad. His Dad exposed him to political, business, and social circles that teenagers do not know. Thus, Frank Abagnale, being a keen observer, learned quickly how adults behave among themselves.

Frank was also strikingly handsome, and confident. So, the story includes many romantic interludes. This aspect of life is described most tastefully. There is nothing graphic here. And, it does not detract from the story. To the contrary, women were a key element in this scammer's education. They were often insiders to the professions he attempted to fake.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
One can't help but be impressed by Frank Abagnale's resourcefulness at such a tender age. At the age of sixteen he manages to forge a pilot's license and "deadhead" his way around the country bouncing checks. He also passes himself off as an pediatrician, a college professor, and an assistant district attorney. The last is probably his most impressive exploit, as he passes the bar exam (on his third try) with only two years of high school.
After years of exploiting the gullibility of bank tellers and airline clerks, Abagnale is finally captured in France, where he spends six hellacious months in a Devil's Island of a prison. He is then transferred to a Swedish prison, a one hundred and eighty degrees difference, more like a college dorm than a prison. He could've spent the rest of his life being handed from one European penal system to another, some of them vying for brutality with France, but he is saved by a Swedish judge who extradites him to the U.S. Back home, he escapes from apprehension at the airport and from prison later, embarrassing the F.B.I. and his nemesis agent O'Reilly. But, by then, just about every law enforcement official in America is on the lookout for him. He is ultimately captured and does four years jail time, only to emerge once more smelling like a rose. After a few years bouncing around doing such scut work as managing a grocery store and a pizza joint, he convinces a bank manager to let him give a lecture to his employees on how to spot a "paperhanger." From there, he's referred to another bank and another and so on. These days he teaches at the F.B.I Academy.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on January 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Catch Me If You Can is Frank Abagnale's account of his life as a con man. His book is thrilling, incredible, and true. When he was 16, Frank's parents separated and he ran away to New York City. Frank, armed with supreme confidence, charm, and intelligence, successfully posed as an airline pilot, attorney (he even passed the bar!), a physician, and a college professor, while living the good life with millions of dollars he got from passing bad checks in over 20 countries; and all of this before he was twenty-one years of age.

Frank's wild exploits are told in a humerous, quick-paced style that is very readable. The joy he found in living the high life and romancing countless ladies around the world is matched by the the utter despair he faced in a brutal French prison where he was entombed in solitary confinement for months.

It's clear that Frank knew he was doing wrong, but was so addicted to the high he got from conning that he didn't want to stop. Frank is now a respected authority on counterfeiting and, in fact, teaches at the FBI Academy. This is a very exciting book!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jussi Bjorling on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I used to have a copy of the original 1980 edition of Abagnale's book, and lost a good friend several years ago when he skipped town with it. I've been waiting for the re-release anxiously.
You might expect it to be hard to root for someone with multiple felony convictions to get away with it. In fact, Abagnale's story is so interesting and so funny that you can't help but like him. This is reinforced by the fact that he seems to have so much fun with it himself, often playing up a role more than he strictly needs to, with hilarious results.
This book is terrific. There are no slack moments, no dull episodes, and some of them are outstanding (the time when he poses as a pediatrician and has to feign medical knowledge is perhaps the funniest thing I've ever read, followed closely by his attempt to pass himself off as an assistant attorney general). The fact that Abagnale has come clean and now works on the right side of the law is just one more reason to buy and read this tremendous book.
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