Catch Me If You Can
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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

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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • If you like the book you will love the movie
    This is one of the best book I ever read. I thought it got realy into his mind so you know how he thought and felt at that time in his life. I loved the movie it was one of the best movies I have ever seen. I thought the movie was a lot beter than the book....more info
  • skip the movie, read the book
    What an entertaining tale. If 50% of it is true (and it appears more than that is) this is one of the most amazing lives ever. Before he was 30 years old....more info
  • Not Bad
    I read this book after watching the movie (staring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio). Before I started I knew I liked the story, but I didn't realize how much. I loved reading Abagnale's account of his life of crime. I enjoyed hearing of his exploits as an airline pilot, a doctor, a professor, and a lawyer. I also liked the novel's open frankness about the author's misdeeds.

    However, I thought the book was not especially well written. Abagnale recounts his adventures dryly and with little emotion. I also felt somewhat deprived with the novel's ending. Frank Abagnale went on to work for law enforcement and securities firms, but that is only mentioned in a question and answer with the author after the story. I would have liked to have heard more about how he crossed from the wrong side of the law to the right.

    All in all, I would recommend this book as an easy weekend read....more info
  • I Wanted More
    Although I knew the ghostwriter, Stan Redding, as far back as the 1970s and in the 1980s when this shot to the top of the bestseller lists, I never sat down to read it until 2008. When I was done, I couldn't understand the fuss.

    I've had to chalk it up to the tenor of the times, in which any sort of true confession like Abagnale's would seem a revelation. In addition, I am sure the excitement of such an accomplished, child-prodigy con artist overshadowed the omission of some elements I would have considered vital to this story.

    Stan allowed Frank to run wild and loose on the narrative of his exploits with almost no confirmation, so that technique left it hard to believe. A thorough job of dissecting Frank's psychology might have salvaged that issue. But I'm betting Frank was holding back, and Stan was just taking what he could get out of him.

    But, c'mon! The things this guy claims to have accomplished as a teenager are over the top. I wanted Frank to tell more about how he got so smart, so young. If he really was that cool, he surely knew why.

    Nevertheless, Stan and Frank still produced a book that would entice a top movie director/actor combo of Scorcese/DiCaprio/Hanks to develop a feature film 20 years after the fact. But Stan and I were jouirnalists in Houston back in the 1970s, so I was expecting more from him.

    "Catch Me If You Can" was plenty of fun with a surface scrubbing of the main character's psychology that left me suspicious about how much of this true crime memoir actually was fiction. And it left me wondering if maybe Frank wasn't using Stan to jump start the con-man defense consulting business Frank eventually launched. ...more info
  • The life I've always secretly wanted.
    "Catch Me If You Can" follows the life of Frank W. Abignale - one of the greatest con men of all time who single handedly lived his life on fradulant checks and scams that just leave you thinking how amazing he was. This book is the autobiographical account of Abignale's teenage years from when he first created a scam on his father's Mobil credit card. There are so many times in this book that I had to step back and think about the air of confidence that Abignale displayed, yet curiously inside he was often paranoid and worried about the authorities catching up to him.

    Some of the stories are absolutely outrageous. I loved them all! This book also talks about his time in prison across seas in Europe and how terrible he was treated in the French prisons.

    If you liked the movie then you should definately read this book. It further explores his adventures and exploits in greater detail and includes many capers that were not in the movie. A must read!...more info
  • Saw the movie first?
    If you, like me, have seen the film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and are playing with the idea of reading the book, you are reading the right review! If you were in front of me, I would look at you with a grin (as if to show that I knew something you didn't) and encourage you to do so.

    Frank Abagnale is less likable in the book, which is to be expected, but is still far from what we would consider a true villain. It caught me by surprise about halfway through how I was so fascinated by a crook with little or no moral values. I suppose this is how we live out our own bit of villainy. Overall, a fun read that may possibly help you appreciate the film even more....more info
  • "Catch me if you can"
    This book was very very god! It seemed to be a biography/story, a type of book that I have never read before. Soe of the things in the book seem unbeilievable, but it is all non-fiction. The way the story was told also makes it easy to read, but there are alot of flashbacks from when he was oyunger to the present time the book is set.
    (2) strong points of this book would be
    1. The book was written well in a genre easy to read
    2. It is fun to learn about the amazing things that Frank Aagnale, one of his names he had in his lifetime did.

    (2) weak points of "Catch me if you can"
    1. To many flashbacks
    2. It begins slow, but as you get further into the book, it becomes more and more exciting.

    I would recomend yuo buy this book, it is a awsome book, and it is written by the person himself, about his life story/biography....more info

  • Conned Again
    I was first made aware of Frank Abagnale by viewing the movie on TV. My thoughts were that anyone that could get away with such cons must be an interesting read.

    I spent $15 for the paperback version and feel that I was totally conned. I know that I am in the minority but after reading this book I despised Frank Abagnale and hate myself for spending $15 on his latest con: selling fiction as non-fiction.

    What really bothers me is how the author and ghost writer have no boundaries of staying close to the truth. A movie, I understand, needs to be captivating because it brings you to fantansy land. The book, well I expect the book to be more in tune with reality.

    This book is simply Frank Abagnale bragging about how great Frank Abagnale is. Do I believe that he passed bad checks? Yes. But everything else in the book is someone's imagination gone wild to sell books and movie rights.

    Don't waste your money on this book but if you just have to read it I'll give it to you for free because I see no purpose in saving rubbish.

    ...more info
  • Wits, Charm and Ego
    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. The movie fooled me into believing this book would be different. However, just like Murphy, Abagnale is a man whose life is redeemed. The book doesn't cover this.

    There is something oddly heroic about a guy who has managed to fool a lot of people just by pretending. While applauding Abagnale's crimes are wrong, his ingenuity is amazing. He was good enough for the government to cut a deal with him. That's Tom Sawyer with more pluck and style. We wish were that smart and suave. This creates morality layers, but a book worth reading and thinking about.

    Read "Catch Me If You Can," then see the movie.

    Anthony Trendl
    editor, info
  • If You Liked the Movie . . .
    If you liked the movie version of this semi-autographical breeze of a read, you certainly will enjoy Frank Abagnale Jr's madcap recap of a scant few years of his life starting when he was barely sixteen. Endowed at an early age with a power physique and an attitude to match, Frank has no difficulty in getting people, especially "foxy" women to believe that he is ten years older. He blames his short life of crime on a perpetual case of spring fever-where ample loads of cash are needed to fuel this heavenly fire. A modern day P.T. Barnum, Frank gives his audience what they crave, cashing bogus checks that he becomes more adept at making as time goes on, while embarking on a spree of impersonations that range from doctor, lawyer, airplane co-pilot to university professor. Even with the full knowledge that crime doesn't pay, the reader cannot help but cheer Frank on as he "dead-heads" his way across the country and eventually around the world. As his descriptions of his stay in a French prison makes you wonder if any of this free-loading was worthwhile, we commiserate with his dread of being prosecuted by every country in Europe and are pleased when he finally serves his time in the US and actually escapes. Unlike the movie, the book devotes little time to the FBI agent who shares the cinematic spotlight or to the actual dynamics of Frank's family life. In fact, only in the book's afterward is Abagnale's actual present day career of check-fraud expert even mentioned.

    Recommended to all those who want to shake their heads in wonder at teenaged audacity.
    ...more info
  • Frank Abagnale
    I was at a convention a few years ago where Frank Abagnale, spoke of the stories in this book. His astounding and confounding stories of his life intrigued me to buy the book. It is a book I couldn't put down, even when my eyes were tired and sleepy. The movie was entertaining but was only a short version of the book....more info
  • Frank Abagnale Jr.
    We all know of Frank Abagnale's personality; arrogant, yet kind with class. Among all the different characters that he chooses to play, whether he's a pilot, doctor, lawyer, or a college professor, i believe that Frank is somewhat confused of who he is. Frank "ran away" from home at 16; the age of teenager who is only halfway through high school. At 16, most people don't know where they are in life or what to pursue in the future. One thing was for sure; Frank wanted money and women.
    I believe Frank's unique personality came from the way he was brought up. Having endured his parent's divorce at a young age was a life changing experience for him. It all started with his father; Frank Abagnale. During the process of his(Jr.'s) parent's divorce, his father still loved is mother. So Frank(Sr.) would try to get his son to say things like "Talk to her son...tell her I love her. Tell her we'd be happier if we all lived together. Tell her you'd be happier if she came home, that all you kids would be happier." His(Jr's) father led him to the first step of manipulation.
    Frank stayed with his father after the finalizing of the divorce. Since his father was quite a rich man, he had a whole variety of rich friends and Frank(Jr.) would come in contact with his friends quite often. This is where Frank learned the "attitude of the rich", with confidence.
    Finally when Frank did his first con with his father's money, Frank(Sr.) forgave him. "Look, son, if you'll tell us how you did this, and why, we'll forget it. There'll be no punishments and I'll pay the bills." Frank probably felt that he could get away with anything at this point and without any punishment, he didn't believe this to be a huge mistake.
    With confidence, manipulation, some class and little fear of breaking the law, we come to Frank Abagnale Jr.
    ...more info
  • Great book
    This was a very fascinating and fun read but entirely different than the movie which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. That's why I bought the book. I would say the movie is very loosely based on this book. I highly recommend both to anybody who likes fun and wants a good laugh....more info
  • Certainly Entertaining
    This is a pretty interesting story and an entertaining read about a teenage forger and imposter. Quite a bit of detail is provided into his criminal acts and techniques. One disappointment is that not much insight is given into Abagnale's motivations. Some events in the story seem like a stretch, but I am naturally skeptical. Even so, I am sure it is mostly accurate.

    Though it is the same overall story, this book differs quite a bit from the DiCaprio/Hanks movie....more info
  • Get past the first 30 pages, you'll be fine.
    A scan of a number of reviews, say that they found the beginning of the book to come off as very arrogant, etc. I definitely agree with this. It moves quickly enough to be interesting, but my first reaction was "he sure does like the sound of his voice."

    But keep reading. While he never completely gets rid of that attitude, by the time you're 50 pages in, you're hooked (likely sooner) and the last 50 pages or so of the book are simply excellent. It's interesting to read the details of how he conned others, as well as his own code of ethics. Also, I'm sure many of these gaps have been filled, yet there are just newer and higher tech ways to scam people. The story about the stewardesses travelling with him, was just astounding. Ultimately he was punished--boy was he---and paid his debt to society. The entire story is very fast paced....more info

  • Entertaining
    This is the story of one of the greatest con arists of all time, Frank Abagnale, Jr. The book was will be amazed at the things he is able to get away with. At times I found myself thinking, "Wow, I wish I could do that and get away with it!"

    My only regret about the book is that it doesn't tell more about Frank's life after he gets released from prison. There is a little blurb at the end, but it wasn't enough to satisfy my curiousity. I also wish I would have read the book before the movie. But whichever order you read them in, the book and the movie are both very entertaining, I think you will enjoy them....more info
  • The story behind the movie
    Many people became aware of Frank Abagnale Jr's story until the movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo Dicapprio was released (even though an earlier movie based on this story was released).

    While not as flowing as the movie, the story told in this book seems much more realistic and true too life, containing many of Abagnale's earlier mistakes & lessons we don't get to see in the movie. On the other hand, many parts of it do seem to be missing - such as why Air France would take such an interest in catching Frank, even though the airlines he was cheating seemed to be mostly American based?

    This is an interesting read as a background to the movie, and to those who would like to learn what had inspired many of the movie's major storylines....more info
  • reminder of how can kid turn out screwed up
    reading the book. it reminds me that kids who does not understand "accountability"

    this is happening everywhere and still now. parents should be more observant about whether their kids are being accountable to their action. otherwise, they may turns out wrong like frank....more info
  • 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. You won't believe the things he comes up with to get himself out of trouble - if I remember correctly he escaped from police custody 4 times (using 4 completely different tactics). Several reviewers have criticized the book because this guy is arrogant, but so many of my favorite stories have characters (like James Bond) with big egos, so I loved it. Truth or fiction? I don't know, but either way, it is a fun read. Enjoy....more info
  • Fictions upon Fictions Made Real
    Can you separate the reading experience from the viewing if you have seen the movie? The book poses similar dilemmas: Can you separate actions from character? Can you create a life out of fictitious personas? Can a person redeem purpose and at the same time amend for the mistakes of a self-absorbed youth?

    Frank Abagnale writes a sincere memoir that shows life can be stranger than fiction. On the one hand, Abagnale's impersonations show amazing ingenuity to pass off as a pilot, doctor, lawyer and FBI agent, just to name a few of his ruses. From a broader perspective, he shows a limitless potential--any person can be anything he wants. He unwittingly proves that the effort to carry off a scam is as monumental as the determined resourcefulness it takes to achieve any legitimate dream.

    Minus the Spielburgian moments like dollar bills flying cut-to-size out of a European counterfeit printing press and DeCaprio a spoiled kid who fell into star-making roles, playing a self-absorbed playboy, the real story has its own immediacy and economy of narrative that reads well on its own.

    Catch Me If You Can is an astonishing read that will pull you into a world of possibility, weaving a story of bold moves to live a life any ordinary person could only dream of living. Abagnale has lived several lives and gives an account that leaves you breathless at the pace and scope contained in an entertaining read. That he is a contributor to modern security technology gives a sense of an amazing, ongoing story...more info
  • catch this book if you can
    I really love this movie. I found it to be really really interesting. But if you love the movie, then you will love the book. It is very different then the movie. I did not know that he had brothers and sisters nor did i know that he actually taught a school. In the film, he did it for a few days.
    I found this book to be really interesting, excting,pageturner and funny. Frank Abagnale is such an intelligent con man.
    The only thing that I did not like about the book was the end. I was disappointed. I was hoping that he would realzie what he did was wrong and serve his time. Also i also wanted him to write about his journey working for the FBI or finally getting caught.
    Overall I did like this book and recommend it....more info
  • 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, "It's the girls, dad. They do funny things to me. I can't explain it." The first chapter prepares the reader for the rest of the book by giving the implication that Abagnale's crimes were committed because of his out-of-control obsession with women. And not only that, but he committed crimes only because he wanted to see how much he could get away with.

    This is a tale of America's "youngest and most daring con man in the history of fun and profit," a man who got away with absolutely everything before he was finally caught. The reader is brought into Abagnale's childhood and how he grew up, and follows his life in the years after he ran away from home and began his life as a criminal. The way Abagnale wrote the events as they happened is witty, charming, and has you rooting for the bad guy! The 293 pages go quick as you jump from airplane cockpits, to classrooms, to courtrooms, to hospitals, and back to the beginning again. Your head spins as you read on and find out just what he gets away with, right until the very last page....more info

  • Read it, If you can!
    Not a reader of fiction, fantasy, sci-fi... therefore picked up a copy of "Catch Me If You Can" from a bookstore yesterday...
    Seen the film more than 10times.. loved the film, loved the characters, loved the plot... LOVED the book even more... can't put it down... the story just flows perfectly...
    Makes you wonder what Franky can do at the age of 16,17 etc.

    A real inspiration... the book's plot is BY-FAR better than the movie... Would have been great to read it before watching the film.. still good to read it after watching the film..

    Overall, it's a great book
    finished it in a day...more info
  • An astounding book for an astounding man.
    This book was an excellent read. Keeping me entertained from the first page to the last. With an excellent ending that kept you wanting more. From the beginning of his petty check theft, and ending with him on the run from police all around the country, and the world, this book was impossible to put down, a real page turner. All in all i think it was definetly a good book to read....more info
  • Fast,Entertaining Read About a Slimeball
    I had seen the movie before reading this book, so I knew the basic story. I was glad to see though,that Mr. Abagnale went right to the good stuff without trying to justify or explain himself. It was interesting that his first con was his father, charging thousands of dollars on a loaned gas card for phony repairs and pocketing the cash, and how seemingly quickly and easily his father forgave him.

    His cons were amazing in their audacity and intelligence. Frank has a very sharp mind, but it soon became apparent that his greatest asset was his charisma. Everyone instantly liked this handsome and personable young man and just wanted to believe his claims. Had he been twice as smart, but half as charming, I doubt he could have pulled off everything he did.

    It was easy to enjoy reading about his ripping off of large companies(Pan-Am particularly),hotels and banks, but it became less fun when he began stealing directly from everyday people. Once,lurking around a bank where he had just opened an account, he noticed people often did not put their account number on their deposit slips. Being the enterprising young man that he was, he swiped a few dozen slips and wrote HIS account number in. He then replaced the slips. When he checked his account later, he had over forty thousand dollars in his balance. He made a withdrawal and got out of Dodge.

    Another such incident took place in Boston. Amazingly, on the same day he more or less conned his way out of jail, hours before the FBI arrived for him, he decided to rob a bank. Not with a gun, but with a sack and a uniform. He bought a authentic security guard uniform from the supplier, obtained a holster and (fake) gun, went to the bank, put a sign over the night deposit reading; Out of Order,Please Leave Deposit with Officer, and stood in front of it with a sack. He got over sixty thousand dollars deposited in his bag.

    This is the one that really got me. He said this money was in small bills, so it's not rich businessmen he's stealing from, it's people who need the money, for rent,food,gas, and their children. And here he is smiling in their faces, patting himself on the back for being clever.

    This did catch up to him,however. He eventually was caught in Montpellier,France. He had pulled numerous scams in France and the rest of Europe(all over Earth,actually) and thought to retire. I doubt his retirement would have lasted,but he is caught when one of the innumerable stewardesses he had dallied with recognized him and turned him in.

    The penal system in France at that time seems to have been incomprehensibly barbaric. It was so unbelievable that I did some research on the subject to confirm it. I won't go into it here, but Frank spent a very unpleasant six months jailed in France. He was then transferred to the country club prisons of Sweden. The contrast was mind-numbing as to how two countries had such a radically different approach to incarceration. Anyway, this consideration was wasted on Frank. After his term in Sweden he was due to go to Italy, where the prisons were just as bad as in France,if not worse. The Swedish officials asked the American Embassy to revoke his passport,so he could be deported to the US instead.

    This led to perhaps his most daring escape. When the plane hit the runway, Frank was in the restroom, pulling out the toilet and shimmying out the bottom of the plane. He ran off the tarmac unnoticed and used the twenty American dollars a kind female Swedish officer had given him for snacks to take a cab out of there.

    Once caught in France though, Frank's luck had seemingly run out. He was recaptured,but escaped again. Very cleverly, but he just couldn't evade the authorities forever.

    This is where the book ends,rather abruptly. A epilogue where it tells how he was eventually caught for good, served five years in an American penitentiary, and was let out with the understanding that he would henceforth use his powers for good would have been appreciated.

    In closing, this book was highly entertaining and you can probably finish it in one day. Don't believe everything you read though. Because I wouldn't doubt that Frank is still pulling a scam of some sort. I hope he didn't make any money off the movie or new editions of this book, but he probably did. Crime can still pay for Frank Abagnale....more info

  • Sunday Afternoon Page Turner
    I saw the movie. I was intrigued to read the real story. It's a quick read, and different enough fro mthe film to be truly entertaining and eye-opening. Amazing scenes from the French prison. I recommend this book. Take it on a x-country flight to while away the hours from NY to Iowa....more info
  • can never put it down!
    this book is one of the best books i've ever read in my life. it is exciting, funny and enjoyable. it is- at least to me- all what u dream of n a story. and it's REAL!
    just read it and u'll love it!...more info
  • Abagnale cons his way into your heart
    Frank Abagnale Jr. stands as one of the greatest con artists of all time. The story is inflated at times (in the introduction he claims to turn on the autopilot of a commercial jet liner, a task that in fact requires the actual ability to fly the plane to begin with). Still, the Catch Me If You Can is engaging, and Abignale's scams combine inventiveness and good humor. Enjoy!...more info
  • Fast moving true (?) story of a con man
    First--definitely an entertaining and fast moving book. It kept me on the edge of my chair and was a quick read. It was a nice accompaniment to the movie and was great to have some of the details that the movie left out. However, it's still hard not to be skeptical of this guy. Once you're a con-man, it's gotta be hard to leave that behind. So, while I generally buy the story, in the back of my mind I wonder how much of it is embellished.... Regardless, this was a fun read and I enjoyed it. ...more info
  • Excellent Book
    I read Franks book years ago when he came to my city to do a talk for Bankers. I was one of 15 people in the room for this particular day. I was thoroughly fascinated by him. The book was equally fascinating.

    I saw the movie once it came out and was not as impressed by it. I chalked that up to seeing the real Frank Abignale Jr.

    ...more info
  • More thrilling than the movie.
    First I saw the movie and became interested in knowing more about it, they did a great job with the screenplay but the book is better by a long way. Abagnale was the best in the "Con Artist" scheme. I was petrified by the ability this guy had, and all the information they use to make his schemes work perfectly....more info
  • 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. Abagnale bilked various banks out of about 2.5 million dollars in his crime career, told basically unapologitically by the man himself. It is interesting to see how the young man gets himself out the various jams he gets in, but the reader also winces because he feels that Abagnale wrecklessly disregards the consequences of impersonating pilots or doctors, and it is felt that Abagnale is lucky that no one died from his crimes. It's ok, but it's quite forgetable...more info
  • 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. If you like the movie the book will be even more interesting because it goes into detail about Abagnale's exploits. In fact, in many ways the book is actually more interesting than the movie.

    For example, many movie viewers couldn't figure out how Abagnale escaped an airplane via the bathroom toilet. This actually happened and is described in the book. Abagnale also describes in far more detail the extent to which he researched how to look and act like a real airline pilot. It's mind boggling how much effort he was willing to put into it.

    Despite how fun it is to read, "Catch Me if You Can" has one huge glaring flaw: the ending.

    We know that Abagnale has worked with the banking industry for many years now in helping them improve their security. What we don't really know, at least from him directly, is how he went from being a swindler to being a high paid consultant. On a psychological level this is the meat of the story. OK, he had a ball being a fake pilot, doctor and lawyer. But what did he learn? Anything? This is where the book falls into the definition of fluff. Because we have no meaning, no explanation, all we're left with are outrageous exploits and escapades.

    All of this begs the question: Did Abagnale actually learn anything? Or is all of this just a further continuation of the con he started as a kid? I don't know either way. It's too bad because Abagnale likely has a few things to teach us - especially at-risk youth who tend to think they're invincible. Unfortunately, the message Abagnale seems to be giving us is that you CAN get away with it. While that's certainly true (just look at ENRON!), it doesn't help that the author shows so little remorse or an explanation of how he changed....more info

  • 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, etc. Not quite sure. Anyway, needless to say the film was coming out in a few weeks over in the US, and a few months in the UK, so I thought it'd be fun to read the book and see how it fared.

    It's not the most well-written book in the world. Chances are Stan Redding, who co-wrote the novel with Frank Abagnale, Jr., did most of the typing, and Mr. Abagnale most of the story telling itself. No matter, this is a rather fascinating true tale - something you have to read to believe.

    Thought the (very good and faithful) movie was a stretch? Check out the book. You'll never believe some of the stuff this kid got away with. I started wondering how much Abagnale actually made up! I suppose none, although he did admit he sometimes stretches the truth of his tales a bit for dramatic effect.

    Overall, a very interesting memoir of a very interesting man who now lives a very normal life!...more info

  • 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. He was a teenager who was addicted to girls, and found that he needed greater and greater sums to gain their company. To get a little extra money, he hatched his first scheme to score a little extra cash with his father's credit card. This started him down the slippery slope, and before long, he moved on to passing bad checks, creating counterfeit checks, soon adopting entirely new identities and personae to assist in his paper-passing schemes. The list of aliases and assumed positions is mind-boggling, ranging from pilot to pediatrician to professor. What makes his story even more remarkable is that he was able to pass off each of these assumed identities successfully, even though he was in reality still a teenager. This book details how he was able to do so, from interviewing real pilots, to learning the lingo of the trade, forging transcripts, studying technical dictionaries in broom closets when confronted on the job with terms he did not know, to cramming for and eventually passing the Bar in Georgia (at the age of 19, as a highschool dropout!). Abagnale was certainly no slouch, and could have gone far in any field he chose to apply himself to.

    Abagnale's capers become bolder and more unbelievable with every page, giving the story both suspense and comic relief at times. The book doesn't leave readers with the message that crime pays, however. Abagnale describes his foreign prison experiences in great and gruesome detail. He also relates how he eventually ended up working for the FBI, having been fired from job after job in the civilian sector after employers found out he was an ex-convict. Thanks to the efforts of the reformed Abagnale at educating bankers and clerks, kids today would have a far more difficult time pulling off the capers that he did. But now, we have the Internet. . ....more info