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

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  397 ratings  ·  29 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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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
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
Aaron Martz
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
“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.
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
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
Well documented through court records of a tale of espionage and the problems associated with trying to keep secrets.
I don't do reviews on every book I read, but this one: AWESOME book; really enjoyed this one!
Great piece of history. Well told. A real page turner.
Dana Retzolk
This was hard to put down both times.
Great true story spy book
True story.. good book.
Excellent book.
Great true story.
Julie marked it as to-read
Jan 26, 2015
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