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The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship & Espionage

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  454 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Tense, intriguing, and darkly compelling, The Falcon and the Snowman is a uniquely American story of betrayal. On the face of it, there was nothing to indicate that Andrew Dalton Lee and Christopher James Boyce were anything but two devout Catholic boys growing up in happy, warm families in one of the most affluent suburbs in America, living one version of the American Dre ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by The Lyons Press (first published 1979)
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Jul 04, 2015 booklady rated it really liked it
It’s not hard to see the ideals of our nation’s founders aren’t working as originally envisioned. And yet, does that entitle anyone to sell our country’s security secrets to a foreign power, especially one who is an avowed enemy?

One of the most damaging espionage conspiracies against the United States in the postwar era was perpetrated by two young men who had begun life with what seemed to be the best America had to bestow on her children. Christopher John Boyce was elected student body presid
Apr 18, 2013 Lennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Christopher Boyce was 21 years old, his father helped him get a job at TRW, a company in the defense industry. He began working as a general clerk with classified material but eventually he earned the clearance to work in the Black Vault with special projects in which he had access to Top Secret information. He was only one of six people approved for this most exclusive of clearances. While working in the Black Vault, he gained insight into the CIA and some of its covert operations. He deci ...more
Jun 28, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
This story is so fascinating because its a true story and happened right here in my own backyard... Its hard to believe two boys, raised from good families in Palos Verdes, grew up to become spies for the KGB in the late 1970s. One of them worked for a company in the aerospace industry right here in the South Bay. Its amazing how easily and how long they were able to perform what ended up being one of the worst acts of espionage in United States history.

The book is over 25 years old and I was c
Sep 14, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it
this was the first book I read after a traumatic head injury that changed my life. I was determined to do good and seek a passive means to protest and remain loyal to my country even if I had to go to hell to get help for myself and family. I have been a passionate reader ever since. I believe reading about the horrors of troubled youth acted like a wrist rocket propelling me to where I am now. I didn't see the movie, the book was enough back in 1981. The next book I read was the rise and fall o ...more
Aaron Martz
Dec 28, 2014 Aaron Martz rated it really liked it
Although dated, this is still an engrossing thriller - a time capsule of the cold war years. What is most startling about this book is how easy it was for these two kids to commit espionage. They were both rich kids who never had to worry about anything, so were able to drift into drugs and ideology and whine about how corrupt America was while never having to get their hands dirty. One became a drug dealer, muling it up from Mexico, and the other, through the naivete of his peers and superiors ...more
I’d always wanted to read this because it’s a true story of something that took place years ago at the company where I used to work. I’d worked with folks that knew The Falcon (and you can believe they didn’t have positive things to say about him). I’d seen the movie with Timothy Hutton (The Falcon) and Sean Penn (The Snowman) but figured the book would go into more details. It did, and it also actually used real names and places (unlike the movie that came up with some twisted version of where ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. I also couldn't help but notice the eerie parallels between what happened with the failings in security and the security leak with Boyce and how both he and Lee got away with what he and his friend Lee did decades ago and today. Then there are the parallels in history itself--from the moral failings, unpopular wars, civil unrest, and a cultural gap between parents and their children (not to mention how their own parents, and the parents of their peers were just too busy with their o ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Ida rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at how 2 good friends who grew up together in the privileged community of Palos Verdes, Southern California, became spies for the KGB, delivering vital secrets to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. For Lee it was a matter of greed, a means to fund his drug business as well as his drug habits. Boyce's motivation was idealism; it was a way to strike back at what he saw as corruption and deceit within the highest ranks of American government. " government possesses the malev ...more
Daniel Lee
Apr 01, 2012 Daniel Lee rated it really liked it
Incredible story and what Christopher Boyce Lee did for TRW is incredibly similar to what I did while in the air force with only a "Secret" clearance. Never saw the movie but the dissatisfaction that Lee felt about the US government and the lies it told other governments and US citizens seems eerily similar to the justifications of radicalized Americans currently working with other countries or even for the Taliban. Lee's justifications for his actions may or may not resonate with all political ...more
Sharon Anne Beers
Feb 17, 2016 Sharon Anne Beers rated it liked it
Two very bright 20-somethings from good families decide to sell sensitive classified technology from TRW Aerospace to the Soviets in the mid '70s.
Andrew Ceyton
I registered a book at!
Michael Brown
Oct 05, 2011 Michael Brown is currently reading it
I loved the movie... and have read his book - A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Money, Murder and Deceit - I read that in 2 days... so I was looking forward to reading this one and it's sequel - The Flight of the Falcon: The True Story of the Escape & Manhunt for America's Most Wanted Spy
Danny Perry
Feb 22, 2008 Danny Perry rated it it was amazing
This is a way cool spy book! Mainly because it's a real story. It's a bit biographical, so it can be slow at parts (especially the first few chapters), but once it gets into the heart of the story it's actually pretty sweet. It details how two friends were able to sell CIA secrets to a Soviet Union embassy in Mexico. Towards the end of the book, it gives some detail on litigation and trial, which was also very interesting to me. And finally, it gives some insight into our detention system - how ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Daniel rated it liked it
One of those books I always wanted to read; This one, after seeing the movie back in the late 80's while stationed in San Diego. As usual, the movie took great artistic license, but generally it followed script. I learned a bit more about "The Falcon's" intelligence and idealism, but overall it more a refresher than anything. The one question the book made more explicit is how they got into the situation that allowed them access to "top secret" information in the first place. Still a fascinating ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best true crime titles I have read, fantastic!
Feb 01, 2013 Mario rated it really liked it
One of the few books I've read where the film adaptation does an excellent job of condensing the novel into an accurate representation. Timothy Hutton is a perfect Chris Boyce and Sean Penn is who my mind's eye could see portraying Daulton Lee.

With the new FX series, "The Americans", this book was an ideal read to complement the show's theme. How quickly we can forget the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war that overshadowed the mid-70's and 80's.
Kellie Uhrig
Nov 03, 2012 Kellie Uhrig rated it liked it
When I read this, I didn't really know what I was getting into. My aerobics instructor kept bringing me books and I felt like I had to read them. At the time, I probably didn't appreciate the book as much as I would have if I'd known more about it. It was definitely outside of my normal "range" of reading, but I'm glad I read it and would recommend it as a change of pace for someone who reads mostly fiction.
Jun 30, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-fiction
This was a very interesting story to me as a young man. I was fascinated that well-to-do teenagers, like me, doing an everyday, simple, boring job, like I was at the time, would steal information and sell it to the Soviets. I remember being so depressed at the end of the story as to how ruined thier lives were. I guess that's a good enough reason to get a story like this out, so kids won't do anything so stupid.
Robert B
Aug 28, 2012 Robert B rated it really liked it
“A True Story of Friendship and Espionage.” Fascinating story of two young Californians who sold secrets to the Soviet Union and were caught and convicted, one because he was disillusioned with the US and the other simply to make money to support his drug trade. The story alternates between the two spies' stories and is told with a quick pace and a sense of the excitement of the illicit activities.
Mar 11, 2011 Karl rated it really liked it
I approached this book with limited expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Well-written nonfiction. The one aspect the book could use is an epilogue; it was written over thirty years ago and a cursory internet search reveals a number of interesting developments in that time.
Melisende d'Outremer
This book is based on the lives of two young American lads who get caught up in the world of drugs and espionage. I read this for a history assignment back in high school - and even managed a field trip to the cinema to see the movie version.
Sep 25, 2007 Brett rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends
I loved this book. Mainly because it was a true story about some punk kids that committed some of the worst acts of espionage in US history. I also found it intersting because I worked at the same company that this story took place.
Jan 07, 2016 Pete rated it really liked it
The author provides an excellent account of the spying scheme that Lee and Boyce engaged in. It was a tragedy that two such promising individuals allowed their lives to be ruined and the author did a good job in conveying that.
Mar 06, 2009 Teryl rated it really liked it
Quintessentially Southern Californian, the malaise of Viet Nam, drug saturation, governmental corruption, smashing into idealism, and the kind of Catholicism that helps create the opposite of what it intends. Beautifully written.
Aug 04, 2007 Voracious rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Another book I've read multiple times, but this one because I really loved it. Part of that is that the men the story is about grew up in my hometown and went to my high school. But it's also just a very interesting story.
Rodney Bond
Mar 10, 2013 Rodney Bond rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Well documented through court records of a tale of espionage and the problems associated with trying to keep secrets.
Jul 16, 2012 Robbie rated it it was amazing
I don't do reviews on every book I read, but this one: AWESOME book; really enjoyed this one!
Dec 12, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great piece of history. Well told. A real page turner.
Dana Retzolk
Jul 23, 2013 Dana Retzolk rated it it was amazing
This was hard to put down both times.
Jan 12, 2009 Timcphoto rated it it was amazing
Great true story spy book
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Robert Lindsey (born 1935) is a journalist and author of several true crime books, including The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage (1980), the story of Christopher John Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee, who were both convicted of selling information to the Soviets. The Flight of the Falcon: The True Story of the Escape and Manhunt for America's Most Wanted Spy (1983) fol ...more
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