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The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw [Kindle Edition]

Bob Friel
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.99
Kindle Price: $12.99
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Book Description

The Barefoot Bandit tells the riveting true story of Colton Harris-Moore, America's twenty-first-century outlaw. Born into a poor family marred by alcohol abuse, Colt had the local sheriff after him before the age of ten. Colt survived by breaking into homes to forage for food, and learned to evade the police by melting into the Pacific Northwest wilds. As a teenager, he escalated to stealing cars, boats, and identities. An extensive manhunt finally caught Colt, but he escaped juvenile prison and fled to nearby Orcas Island, where he assured his place alongside outlaw legends such as D. B. Cooper by stealing an airplane without ever having a formal flight lesson. And that was just the beginning.

As a resident of Orcas Island, author Bob Friel witnessed firsthand as local police, FBI agents, SWAT teams, and even Homeland Security helicopters pursued Colt around the island. Colt's crime spree infuriated and terrified many locals, while others sympathized with the barefoot young criminal-the controversy tearing at the formerly quiet community. The story gained international fame, with Time calling Colt "America's Most Wanted Teen" when he stole and crashed his third airplane. After more than two years on the run in the Northwest, Colt fled Orcas and began a spectacular cross-country trek. Friel followed the Barefoot Bandit all the way to the Bahamas, where the chase finally ended in a hail of gunfire at 3 a.m. on a dark sea.

Through his personal experiences and hundreds of interviews with witnesses, victims, local authorities, Colt's family, and, indirectly, Colt himself, Friel gives readers an exclusive look at an outlaw legend. Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest's evergreen islands, where Internet millionaires coexist with survivalists and ex-hippies, this is a gripping, stranger-than-fiction tale about a neglected and troubled child who outfoxed the authorities, gained a cult following, and made the world take notice.

Editorial Reviews


"Will keep you on the edge of your seat."

"I doubt if even the best fiction writer could create a character like Colton Harris-Moore. This is an incredible but true story. Bob Friel is a gifted reporter and a very fine writer."—Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of The Gold Coast and The Lion

"Something about Colton Harris-Moore--crafty stealer of cars, boats, and airplanes--captured the fascination of our fast-moving country. But it took Bob Friel, a plucky reporter with a pitch-perfect story sense, to chase down the legend and make it real. In Friel's fine telling, the Barefoot Bandit emerges as both villain and folk hero in a thrilling modern fugitive tale."—Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail

"A Dillinger-esque tale for our current Great Recession era. Friel not only gives a brilliantly clear-eyed look at a bandit's adventures but also the effects they had on his peaceful community."—Matthew Polly, bestselling author of American Shaolin and Tapped Out

"[A] true-crime classic."—Aspen Daily News

"Friel offers a thrilling portrait of a bright and neglected teen trying to outrun authorities and his own troubled past."—Booklist

"This highly entertaining story of a modern-day Huck Finn will be enjoyed by lovers of adventure stories as well as true crime."—Library Journal

"It is Friel's ability to spin a great yarn that draws the reader in from the start and never lets up. And he does it with deft reporting and a breezy and entertaining style that enlivens a tale as incredible as it is true."—Associated Press

"Riveting, thorough, and deeply human, this terrific read doesn't just tell the story-it brings it to life."—Marcus Sakey, bestselling author of The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes and The Blade Itself

About the Author

Friel has authored more than 100 feature articles along with hundreds of columns for magazine such as Outside, Islands, Philadelphia Magazine, Sunset, Caribbean Travel & Life, AAA Living. He has been named "Travel Writer of the Year" and won over 30 awards during his six-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Caribbean Travel & Life. He lives on Orcas Island in Washington State with his wife.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6767 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1401324169
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (March 20, 2012)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072LWPQ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,997 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive adventure story.... March 20, 2012
I worked on the CBS News "48 Hours Mystery" hour about this case and it has never ceased to amaze me. A teenager from the wrong side of the tracks with virtually no education but balls as big as the great outdoors, teaches himself how to fly using a DVD and then goes on a tear, stealing five single-engine airplanes worth millions.

It's a fantastic adventure story and, if it were fiction, would hardly be believable. But it was all true and here, in this definitive account, Bob Friel uncovers every last morsel about Colton Harris-Moore. The book goes way beyond anything you've read and details every last crime Colton Harris-Moore, aka The Barefoot Bandit, ever committed or is alleged to have committed.

That's one thing but what makes the book a 5-star-read is the job Friel does painting the background of Colton. You'll understand what makes this kid tick when you read about his impoverished past. I'm a sympathizer of Colton and I know not everyone is but, even if you're not, read this book to get the whole, unvarnished, story.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it! April 28, 2012
Living in one of the communities targeted and terrorized by Colton Harris-Moore, I thought I knew as much as there was to know--or at least as much as I wanted to know about the kid's multi-year, multi-state, multi-nation crime spree. Wrong!

Bob Friel's exceptionally well-told story of the Barefoot Bandit delivers page after page of new information, insights, and behind-the-scenes wisdom about the most colorful and successful bandit this country's seen since the days of Butch and Sundance. Except that H-M flew solo. No partner in crime, no gang to back him up.

It's easy to romanticize and glorify Harris-Moore's misdeeds. Many have. But Friel's book, while capturing the ambiguity of some of Colton's victims (and those who spent months if not years as fretful victims-in-waiting), puts to rest any doubts about the hurtful, insidious effects of "property" crimes. He frightened thousands. He broke, he entered, he stole: food, of course, but also cars, cash, boats and planes, electronics gear, personal identities, irreplaceable items of sentimental value. And, most ominously, guns. And, as everyone who's ever been the victim of a property crime, especially burglary, can attest it changes a person for life. We lose not only our valuables but our innocence, our feelings of safety and security. We feel violated. Colton Harris-Moore did that to us.

Yet, while half of my island neighbors wanted to hang him the other half wanted to adopt him. Friel's book helps us understand these divisions--within a community and within ourselves. One thing is certain, I think.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative, but prolix June 21, 2012
In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Falstaff utters the famous caveat, "Discretion is the better part of valor." While most people subscribe to this logic and live within safe and comfortable parameters, the anti-hero of "The Barefoot Bandit," Colton Harris-Moore, eschews Falstaff's wisdom at every turn. As author Bob Friel illuminates in fascinating detail, Harris-Moore started out as a disadvantaged kid growing up in a dilapidated trailer, and morphed into one of the most clever and sympathetic criminals in American history. Based on the author's descriptions, Harris-Moore is less of a psychopathic serial burglar, and more of a daring prankster who refused to be consigned to society's lowest rung by a drunken mother, a deadbeat father, moronic social workers, and inept law enforcement officers. After reading about the sordid circumstances of Harris-Moore's formative years and law enforcement's buffoonish bungling during his time on the lam (i.e.--most of the deputies pursuing Colton were too out-of-shape to chase him through the woods), I can only conclude that Falstaff would've declared the following in response to the Barefoot Bandit's crimes: "Audacious valor is a form of discretion when parental narcissism and bureaucratic incompetence reach critical mass."

While "The Barefoot Bandit" does a solid job of describing the environmental and social issues which led Harris-Moore into a life of crime, the focus of the book has a tendency to wander. Specifically, the author spends an inordinate amount of time detailing the geography of the San Juan Islands and the personalities of the people who live there. While reading "The Barefoot Bandit," one gets the sense that the author truly bonded with his community as a result of Harris-Moore's exploits.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, fast paced read! July 12, 2012
Friel's book is a good, fast paced read. It is also part of our "Island Psyche" and the whole "Barefoot Bandit"/Colton Harris Moore story has become part of our history here on Orcas Island. We were a bit "terrorized" by this unknown person for a year before they finally figured out who it was and more of Harris-Moore's story became known. Friel has captured the story of a very troubled youth and young man and made me feel a bit more compassionate towards Harris Moore even though I feel what he did was criminal and he hurt many people. I was never bored with the writing and of course it was even more interesting as I know all the people from Orcas that were mentioned in the book. We lived this story. I don't agree with the one star review from "OrcasIslander". Unfortunately our police force is small, many a bit over weight and they did bungle things. There was no way they could ever outrun Harris-Moore either. Things were bungled right from the start and Friel points that out. It was a quick and facinating read for me and I liked Friel's easy style of writing. Many times I found myself laughing at his factual yet humorous take on things. Yes, Friel is a relative newcomer to Orcas Island but he is not a new comer to journalism and writing. He has written an interesting story, a story of a unique, highly intelligent yet troubled young man and he captured the story of those that were touched by his crimes whether on Camano Island, Orcas, across the US and ending in the Bahamas. I couldn't put the book down. I've lived on the island for 20 years and my husband for 35 years. Friel did romanticize the island "life" a bit but I can't hold that against him. It's a fine book and a good read. Hopefully Colton-Moore will find himself and get on with his life in a positive way. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I wish the book would have included information not known online or in the media
Published 28 days ago by Lucille
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun fast and energetic !!!
Really a terrific read. Colton Harris Moore is one of the more interesting outlaws of our time. This book does a good job looking at both side of the fence. Read more
Published 7 months ago by That guy..Today.
5.0 out of 5 stars a fun read
I experienced fun and a little excitement reading of this child's antics - only too late did he realize that he's not a child anymore and that he would be judged as an adult. Read more
Published 13 months ago by rick
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome TALE!
This is an excellent true story that is very well told. Once you start, you cannot put it down. You might find yourself checking your home security system out after you've read... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Laura Hubbard
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story
A modern day bandit who was fueled by social media, but really his dysfunctional childhood gave him no chance to be a normal
child. Too bad, but it was a great book.
Published 16 months ago by Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read
Its one of those books that you cant get lost in. A true good book to read and enjoy. What one person can go through.
Published 18 months ago by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Some have been critical that the book is too long, I have no problem with that in fact I quite like the many details and found it very interesting.
Published 20 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer, captivating story
Bob Friel has an amazing way with words. There are other authors who have told the story of the barefoot bandit, but no one except Bob Friel draws you into his "you were... Read more
Published 20 months ago by N. Blyseth
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Just a great read about an interesting, smart kid. Hope he turns it around when he gets out of jail.
Published 21 months ago by John H.
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting story
Interesting story, but as other reviews have said, the author does go a little too deep into his story instead of Colt's. Read more
Published 21 months ago by wrick
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More About the Author

From shark wrangler to stand-up comedian, cruise-ship lifeguard to television producer, author Bob Friel front-loaded his life with an adventurous mix of jobs.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bob was nonetheless drawn to islands and the sea. He studied marine science at the University of Miami, but discovered he wasn't suited to life in the lab. After graduating, he moved to Grand Cayman (the first of what is now eight islands that he's lived on) where he taught underwater photography and scuba diving. Bob then turned to photojournalism, working in hotspots such as Northern Ireland during The Troubles, Sri Lanka during the Tamil insurgency, and in the Guatemala Highlands.

After getting tired of having teenagers point machine guns at him, Bob switched to safer pursuits, moving to the Republic of Maldives in the Indian Ocean where he made his living as a shark wrangler.

Over the last two decades, Bob has worked variously in television (from cameraman to producer for major US and foreign networks), as a travel and wildlife photographer, and as a magazine journalist writing on everything from adventure to crime to beach bars--lots and lots of beach bars. He's traveled to more than 50 countries to capture stories, pictures, and footage for books, magazines and TV.

Bob is also a trained amphibious ultralight pilot, marine naturalist, and bartender. He lives on Orcas Island, in Washington State, with his wife, Sandi, and their Leonberger, Murphy.

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