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Catch ME If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit [Paperback]

Frank W Abagnale
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2000
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."

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Product details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Del; 1st Broadway Books Trade Pbk. Ed edition (July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905381
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 619,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Now a major motion picture starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

After a life of crime, Frank Abagnale has cleaned up his act. As the founder of an anit-fraud corporation he lectures regularly to top executives nationwide from the Department of Justice to the American Institute of Banking and has run over 3000 programmes in 22 years. He is also the author of another book entitled THE ART OF STEAL. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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A MAN'S ALTER EGO is nothing more than his favourite image of himself. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragicomic tale of successful deceptions 8 Feb 2004
In an era when it is not unknown for a head of state to be judicially appointed rather than popularly elected, a highly entertaining tale of fraud, deceit, imposture, and usurpation seems highly appropriate. Unlike recent cameos of a winsome actress caught shoplifting or of a Hollywood "bagel-baby" producer caught forging the signature of a granite-jawed actor on a personal check, the reader of Catch Me if You Can is treated to snapshots of the protagonist - a high-school dropout - passing a southern state's bar examination and appointed an assistant attorney general, awarded a license to practice medicine in the state of Georgia, hired as a university professor of sociology in Utah, handed the controls of a 707, hiring coeds to model Pan Am uniforms throughout Europe. One close-up of the "doctor" at work will suffice: "This guy had a complaint about his foot. 'I'm a pediatrician. You want a podiatrist.' That one had mysterious pains in his stomach. 'I suggest you talk to your own doctor.' A brunette had an 'odd, tight feeling' around her upper chest. I examined the brunette. Her brassiere was too small." But the escape artist's "luck" also has a dark side: arrested and thrown into a dungeon in Perpignan, France; fed only bread, gruel, and water; never permitted to bathe, shave, or attend to other personal hygiene; harassed by sadistic guards; and left to rot for six months, he is finally extradited to humane Sweden suffering from severe malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and double pneumonia. After recovering for six months, he is saved from extradition to Italy and then Spain, in whose barbaric prisons he faces certain death, by a compassionate judge who orders him deported to the U.S., whence, once he has served an additional four years' sentence, as an American citizen he cannot be extradited, and where he is ultimately rehabilitated and redeemed into a productive, married member of society who specializes in the detection and prevention of fraud.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book far better than the film 14 April 2003
… and there was nothing wrong with the film! Although the film was only ‘inspired by’ the book, perhaps 30-40% of the book is in the film. With one or two notable exceptions (the relationship between FBI and Abagnale, and Franks con of fellow schoolmates, which is not in the book, and the ending of the film) I found the book to be far more fascinating than the film.
From his first con of his father, through his career as paperhanger, cheque swindler and con man, Frank Abagnale at 17 was at the time the youngest of his breed ever. Here he describes how he was able to take advantage of banks, airlines (one of his most successful scams as a co-pilot allowed him to travel throughout the USA and then the rest of the world), hospitals, universities… almost any institution one might care to name. Frank scammed them all, with charm, flair and ingenuity. He was caught occasionally, and if he couldn’t talk his way out of it, he could usually escape (not from the French, and he didn’t even try with the Swedes). Far from being a hardened criminal, Frank essentially did this to fund adventures with women, much like any teen might want to do. Frank’s sheer out and out daring, his intelligence, his ability to lie at the drop of a hat and unrepentantly, and the unorthodox nature of his crimes make for compelling reading. The book does end a little up in the air, but this is resolved by an Afterword.
A charming and entertaining read.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superior to the movie 19 Aug 2004
I'll admit it. I never would have read this book if it was not for the movie that came out last year. I still haven't seen the movie but decided that perhaps the book would be interesting since it was written by the subject of the movie. I didn't learn until the end of the book (in a Q&A section with the author) that this was written in 1980. Abagnale has a very easy going style and it almost feels like he is right there next to you telling you this wild story of his youth.
Catch Me If You Can is an interesting, exciting, fast paced novel that is a pure joy to read. I don't know if I can put it better than that. This was a book that I simply did not want to put down and I flew through the book. The plot of the memoir is the criminal career of Frank Abagnale (he has since paid his debt to society and now works to prevent exactly the sort of crime that he once committed). Frank Abagnale was a con man. He began his career at a young age (15) conning gas station attendants to give him cash when he pays with his father's credit card. The leads to Frank leaving home, moving to New York City and trying to begin an honest life. Unfortunately, Frank's one main vice is women, and to be with women he needs to have more money than a 16 year old high school dropout can earn. So he begins to con.
Frank's primary method of conning was passing bad checks. However, he found that it is easier to make the con if he is a member of a well respected profession. Frank researches every role that he plays so that he will be as convincing as humanly possible without actually having to do that job. In some cases, he was able to con so well that he was paid for it and he didn't have to forge checks.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
From his adolescent beginnings as a conman, Frank Abagnale takes the reader on a journey through some of the most imaginative and audacious con tricks ever dreamed up. While it is goes against common decency to applaud confidence tricksters, this book is written with such good humour and candour that it is impossible not to feel enormous warmth towards Frank Abagnale. Some of the scams are stunning in their simplicity while the care and detail needed to accomplish others is breaktaking. This is not a conventional book with a conventional storyline - rather it is a series of snapshots detailing Abagnale's "white collar" crimes. The reader's conscience is somewhat appeased by the fact that Abagnale mainly targeted large corporations rather than individuals (the episode as a security guard outside a night safe was borderline!) and the storyline involving Pan Am and the overseas "PR" trip had me rocking with laughter. This is the story of a man who didn't finish High School and yet successfully (most of the time) impersonated doctors, air line pilots and a raft of other professionals. My feeling about this book is that crime may pay but - as Abagnale goes on to prove - honesty pays more! All will be revealed at the end of the book with perhaps Abignale's finest scam of all! An unqualified recommendation !
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