A real-life Talented Mr. Ripley, the unbelievable 30-year run of a shape-shifting con man. The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man - because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany.
At 17, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began. Over the next 30 years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning 12-year marriage to a rising star businesswoman with a Harvard MBA who believed she'd wed a Rockefeller. The imposter charmed his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions-working on Wall Street, showing off an extraordinary art collection - until his marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter, which exposed his past of astounding deceptions as well as a connection to the bizarre disappearance of a California couple in the mid-1980s.
The story of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit is a probing and cinematic exploration of an audacious imposer - and a man determined to live the American dream by any means necessary.
©2011 Mark Seal (P)2011 Penguin Audiobooks
The sheer brashness of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a young German immigrant to the United Sates who assumed a succession of false identities to eventually work his way into the highest levels of society, will take your breath away.
As in the case of Frank Abagnale ("Catch Me if You Can"), Gerhartsreiter relied on his ability to so completely mimic behavior, attitudes and language (he developed his "Rockefeller" accent by studying the accent of the Thurston Howell character in "Gilligan's Island"), that the characters he assumes become completely believable to those around him. If anything, his audaciousness exceeds that of Frank Abagnale in that his characters were high-profile and likely to catch people's attention. Who would dream that there could be a fake Rockefeller out there for over 10 years without anybody noticing--not even his high-powered NY exec wife of a decade??
Even in the age of Goggle, Gerhartsreiter managed to pull it off for an amazingly long time--and might still be succeeding at it today if not for his one weakness. I'll leave that point for the reader to discover!
read for pleasure
You can't make this kind of stuff up! I have often heard the saying that truth is stranger than fiction and this book proves that. Clark Rockefeller is one of more than 4 personas this immigrant takes on in the book. At every turn their is something stranger than the last sensational event. The author does a great job of getting you hooked in the very beginning and then he keeps you entranced throughout the book. Erik Singer does a very good job with making the book come alive. Great Book!
I loved everything about this book, and I told others to listen to it, too. The story is remarkable -- what this guy pulled off is incredible -- and the audio performance is excellent.
Don't hesitate -- listen to it!
I am a 30 year old over-the-road truck driver. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks!
Near the top! A great listen with several twists and turns.
The storyline and the fact that it is true. Very interesting story
The murder mystery wrapped inside the rest of the story.
If I had the time I would have
Crazy, Brilliant, Naive
After all of the cunning and brilliantly devious things he did, it came down to physically bowling over a guy to try to get away.
Main character was and should be favorite
It was good enough that I didn't want to turn it off when my drive ended and I often sat in the garage to get to a good stopping point.
Well-researched, written and narrated. It kept me fascinated from start to finish. Highly recommended if you like this type of non-fiction book. Truth can be stranger than fiction--that's for sure!
I listened to this one a while ago - I think about a year - but it still sticks out in my mind for the exceptional story, the flow of the tale, and the unobtrusive narrator. The book deftly leads you to the point where you can see how someone would end up as one of his victims, or at least it provides some rational explanations. Good book.
This story is unbelievable, yet true. What a colorful imposter this man is. I will be re-reading this book.
I wanted this to be Catch Me if you Can, but it's not in the same league. It is an interesting book in theory, but this guy's scam was actually quite banal and he lacked the daring or creativity that would make for an interesting book. It's basically a paralyzingly slow look at a guy taking advantage of stupid people. Pass.
I am writing this in 2014 so the story has evolved even further since 2011. This is a very fact based book starting with the story as he enters in the US and follows him through his trial for kidnapping his child. The book is well written. If this book intrigues you, then download "Blood Will Out" by Walter Kirn next which finishes the story.
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