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The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage Paperback – June 2, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; 1st edition (June 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585745022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585745029
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Journalist Lindsey adroitly chronicles the true story of Andrew Daulton Lee and Christopher John Boyce, two high school buddies from good families who were tried and convicted of espionage. Boyce's FBI agent father landed the floundering 21-year-old a job developing satellites for the CIA. With Lee's help, Boyce set out to sell government secrets to the Soviets. The two then embarked on a covert operation complete with code names, spy cameras, and other trappings that James Bond would have envied.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Remarkable. A real-life spy story as gripping and full of suspense as anything one could invent. Robert Lindsey tells us everything we want to know about this odd couple. He has done a superb job of research and writing."-Ken Follett

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on August 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Of all the major spy stories to break open in the last thirty years, the case of John Boyce and Andrew Dalton Lee has to take the prize and the most troubling in its larger implications. Other spies like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen were disillusioned middle aged bureucrats whose spying was an outlet for their frustration as well as a source of additional income. Boyce and Dalton, however, were young men who blundered into the spy game mostly because of boredom with their comfortable upper middle class upbringings. Their betrayal of the country that allowed them to live such an easy life is as baffling, if not as horrific, as the later actions of the shooters at Columbine High School.
Those who enjoyed the popular movie starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn based on this book will particularly enjoy the details that the movie had to leave out. Of the two, Boyce's story is the most tragic. He was highly intellegent with a potentially bright future, and secured a position at defense contractor TRW with a Top Secret security clearance because of his retired FBI agent father's connections. Lee, on the other hand, was a dropout and a drug dealer whose life was spiraling downward toward the inevitable bad conclusion. One of the astonishing facts revealed in the book is just how many second chances Lee squandered along the way. A child of less affluence would have ended up in prison long before he even had the chance to join Boyce in his spying.
Author/journalist Robert Lindsey is an excellent writer and he tells the story in such a way that it reads like a fiction thriller. Lindsey reports astonishing facts such as the incredibly lax security at TRW without editorial comment, letting the events speak for themselves. Lindsey's extensive interviews with all of the principals, including Boyce in particular, make for particularly compelling reading.
Overall, a well-written journalistic account of one of the most unfortunate of America's spy cases.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book about four or five years ago, after I saw the film with Timothy Hutton (also very good). I'm only 20 so this story was a little before my time but... In any event I found it fascinating. Lindsey portrays these men honestly and without judgement butwith great insight. You won't be able to put it down. Also good, if not better, Lindsey's Flight of the Falcon, about Boyce's brief escape from prison.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike H on September 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books whose greatness lost out to the attraction of the big screen of Hollywood. Yes, the book, penned by journalist Robert Lindsey, is better. Lindsey is thorough and supplies in-depth detail after detail, taking the reader into the 1970s world of drug-using and dealing, the American intelligence community -- even the world of falconry. What it essentially boils down to is the story of two sociopaths (Lindsey doesn't delve into the world of psychology and his great coverage stands on its own merit).
Why would two well-raised, fairly wealthy 20-somethings sell above-top-secret intelligence to the Soviet Union and risk the lives of the world via nuclear holocaust? In the case of dope-dealing Andrew Daulton Lee, it boiled down to nothing more than money, a power-trip and excitement. In the case of Christopher John Boyce, the rationale was more idealistic.
Yes, one can argue that America was built "by the few for the few." Yes, the world's greatest democracy has over the years and to its own end repressed foreign governments. Hypocrisy, plain and simple. But neither money nor idealism of this sort can justify selling out one's county.
It's a thought-provoking book that elicits strong emotions, all while reading like excellent, exciting fiction. But it's also a statement of American justice. And that's not necessarily a good thing. As of 2010, both men have been free for more than a decade (they were convicted in 1977 -- Lee was released in 1998, and Boyce in 2002, AFTER a prison escape and 17 bank robberies). But the latter is another story.
If you want a good, unique read, you can't go wrong with this relatively unheralded book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A TRW defense research facility occupies a plain but sprawling glass and concrete box on Route 91 in the bustling Los Angeles seaside community of Redondo Beach, a building that most wouldn't notice while driving to the nearby sun and shore. Yet, in early 1977, a spy scandal rocked this firm and the nation, the nature of which seriously compromised the USA's secure defense satellite communications system.

Although not as culturally convulsive as the Rosenberg atomic spy ring of the early 1950s or as astounding as the activities of the Walker family spy cadre in the next decade--this incident's most shocking aspect is that two inexperienced young men barely out of their teens easily penetrated presumably tight security, successfully stole and then quickly sold to the Soviets much of US Defense Department's latest and most crucial secure satellite communications plans and crypto data. Childhood friends Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee are the central figures in Robert Lindsey's compelling book, "Falcon and the Snowman."

Boyce, a former Catholic seminarian and low-level TRW code room clerk and Lee, a drug dealer, decide on a whim to sell classified material to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, with Boyce's motivation a confused residue of near-dead `60s-style idealism and Lee's just another stop in the endless quest for the fast and easy dollar. Lindsey effectively portrays the pair as privileged products of a highly materialistic society with little useful work to do; whose comfortable lives insulated them from many of the struggles and challenges their parents and their less-fortunate peers had to face, eventually leading them into another form of hedonistic excess which ended up gravely jeopardizing the safety of our country.
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