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The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The Barefoot Bandit tells the riveting true story of Colton Harris-Moore, America’s twenty-first-century outlaw. Born into a poor family marred by alcohol abuse, Colt had the local sheriff after him before the age of ten. Colt survived by breaking into homes to forage for food, and learned to evade the police by melting into the Pacific Northwest wilds. As a teenager, he e ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Hyperion
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  466 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Start your review of The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, crime, non-fiction
What a read! Colton Harris-Moore looted houses and businesses for cash, computers, and junk food - sometimes doing his laundry, showering and cutting his hair in victims' homes! My having a friend who lives on Camano Island, and one who lives on the Orcas Islands made this book even more fascinating to me.

Colt's mom was an alcoholic who bought beer, rather than food and spent his growing-up years so drunk she was barely able to walk. Interviews with locals, Colt's mother, and childhood friends
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I remembered hearing about this kid evading authorities on Orcas Island by hiding out in the woods back when I was living in Seattle. I slogged through the whole thing because I wanted to know what happened, but wished it were a quarter of the length. The author starts out jumping between 2 or 3 different timelines, and when he settles on a purely chronological one includes way too many background details (for example, about the childhoods of Colton's victims). I have to ...more
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
Like everyone else on Orcas, I thought I was following this story pretty closely, but I was surprised at how much I didn't know. It's really astonishing this kid is alive! I thought Friel did a bang- up job describing the allure of Orcas, from its quirkiness to the backroom politics. It was fun to read about places I know, people I've talked to... I've been here five years, and learned some new things-the Ditch was an attempt to cut Orcas in two? Huh. The first part of the book is devoted mostl ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
On the good side, this book is a sympathetic portrait of a tragic, likable criminal. You feel like Colton had so much going against him (abusive mother, unstable home, unhelpful school & social services), and fell into more serious crimes step-by-step, yet avoided some of the worst criminalities (drug use, violence, etc.). He's obviously a smart kid and needed better opportunities and guidance. It seems that when he had to steal food to eat because his mother spent all their money on beer and ci ...more
Tom Hamrick
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
absolutely LOVED this book. First off I was totally obsessed with this story while it was going on and this book has so many great details and the writer kept me going to bed wanting to wake up to find out what the kid was up to. Also its a lesson in how bad parenting and broken homes can lead to alot of hidden depression and issues. This boy is a genius and with support and coaching as opposed to getting drunk and beating him up nightly he could have cured something or invented something, his s ...more
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this because it was a local story. I love Orcas Island and was curious about the details the media left out. Can't believe this book is non-fiction. It was so interesting, riveting and exciting. Total page turner.
Danny Schiff
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I can not believe that this book does not have more ratings on Goodreads. The story telling is as addictive as the antics of Colton Harris-Moore terrorising homes and businesses of the Pacific-Northwest circa 2008. I wish that I had a memory of this news story when it was happening, because as I read, I continually found myself in awe by an 18 year old staying two steps ahead of the police yet I have endless sympathy for the communities he was tearing apart at the seams with his petty c ...more
Cassie Freeman
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. LOVED the co tent and surprised by the excellent and humorous writing.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first takeaway from this book was: that poor, poor little boy...with his crap-tastic mother, he didn't have a chance. Now that I've finished, I think he's got a better than average chance...IF he can put his incredible intelligence to good use. I'm definitely pulling for him and would enjoy seeing what he may have to write about his misspent youth someday. Speaking of writing, Friel did a great job documenting Colt's escapades this book. With his connection to both the San Juan islands and th ...more
Cathy O'doherty
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. Very entertaining and interesting. My only complaint is that Friel gives an in-depth background of almost everyone the Bandit encounters. This gets a little tedious. Otherwise I found the book an easy read and quite fascinating.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I am so glad this book is over!!!! It made me so angry throughout almost the entire thing.

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about Colt's story is "inept" - as in, the numerous law enforcement agencies, child protective services, schools, adults, and pretty much every other person or group that could have (and should have) done better so that this bizarre event never had to take place, or take place for so long. I have never read of such a profound level of ineptitude in my life. It
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. An interesting story about a young criminal who liked to steal planes and boats and miraculously didn't die trying to do it.


The whole book was a chase scene of all the crazy and numerous things he did and I would love to have learned more about what happened to Colt after he was finally caught. After reading about the endless break-ins of small shops and houses, Colt stole his last plane and flew it to the Bahamas. Here is where I knew he'd get caught.. it's kinda hard to esca
Chris Lira
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I lived in Seattle when Colton Harris-Moore was running amok in the San Juan Islands, fled cross-country, and was eventually caught in the Bahamas. I was interested in finding out more, and in reading this book that I was only aware of part of his one-man crime wave. Not to glorify him, but it's amazing he was able to do so much, for so long, without being caught.

This book is very well-written and documented and makes for a very engaging read.
Melissa Schneider
Colton Harris-Moore's story is intriguing and bewildering. It's a ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that most people never heard about. From his dysfunctional childhood through the unraveling of his life as a delinquent teen, the odds we're stacked against Colton. The details of his life on the run are fascinating, but the details of each escapade become tedious at times to the reader.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story - comprehensive, and well-paced.
Interesting. Quick reading and while not written in a maudlin way, the story itself is sad in many ways.
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wild, fascinating truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Allan
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My son gave this book to me for Christmas. It's not one I would have picked; I'm not that interested in Colton Harris-Moore. Even when he was at his peak, I never read the articles in the newspaper (I live in Washington state); I just saw the headlines. But after reading a few pages of this book, I got a lot more interested. Bob Friel has interviewed hundreds of people and gone through hundreds of documents, doing a great job of weaving the whole thing together into a compelling tale.

Friel detai
Christina Dudley
Really enjoyed this page-turning story of the smart kid who sadly had so many strikes against him. Had he enjoyed a safe living place and the company of mentors and loving adults, his tale would have played out so differently. Sounds like the alcoholic mom was villainized, but I got most ticked at the bullying classmates--his mom had an addiction--what was your excuse?

I wish Colton Harris-Moore all the best when he gets out. May he be surrounded by support and use all those smarts and skills for
Matthew Dixon
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a teenager who went on a crime spree starting in the pacific northwest and conitnuing across the country. Doesn't sound like much but it's really an amazing tale, involving an uneducated but extremely bright boy who evaded bumbling law enforcement for years through his smarts and physicality. Not someone to be admired surely but the story sure is entertaining and does not involve any violence. the author does a good job of laying out the story. He gets a bit self-aggrandizing someti ...more
Kelly Aunkst
May 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really have not enjoyed this book. I was expecting to, but feel like every page just tells the same story over and over again. Maybe that's the point. He keeps committing the same crime and law enforcement keeps making the same misstakes. Dumb.

I also did not enjoy the writer's style. I often found it hard to follow because it was so conversational. I'm not sure how I missed it, but I'm not sure who is telling this story.
Andrea Gebler
Didn't finish it. I wasn't intrigued by the story and it just seemed to go round and round. I understand that a description is important to set the scene but I feel the author went into a little too much detail. I may have finished it had the author been a little more to the point spending more time on the actual events and crimes rather than describe every nook and cranny about the terrain and way of life
I remembered hearing about this story on the news. Overall, I liked the book; I found it an interesting read, and a fascinating story. I couldn't help but be somewhat sympathetic toward the kid for everything that he'd been through. I think the book itself could have been condensed. I forced myself to finish it because I hate not finishing a book, but it felt as though the author was repeating himself and dragging it out just to make the book longer.
This is a great story of Colton's life. It's also a somewhat boring story of half the people involved's lives. It was a bit lengthy and probably could've been shortened. A lot of the flying aspect was boring to me although it was explained well for somebody who knew nothing about flying.

All in all, it was enjoyable. I had a few moments of considering putting it down but it held my interest and was a decent read.
Clarissa J. Liening
Great read!#

Even if I didn't live on Orcas (which I do) and even I didn't know, love and totally enjoy the author (which I do), I would still enjoy this book. It's a great story and Bob's writing and his ability to tell a tale is great. Enjoyed the new stuff in second edition which makes the fact that my signed hard copy was lost when I loaned it out) less painful. I highly recommend!
Randy Briggs
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a great deal. The author has a jokey, conversational style that kept me engaged. He managed to keep a balance between Colton, his family, and his neighbors without judging any of them. I was happy to find a biography that didn't tip over into an all-out puff piece. If you enjoy true crime and/or bios, this is the book for you.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally amazing. I knew about the story because this guy stole Nick's laptop in the summer of 2008, but I had no idea about the extent of the crimes and the backstory. A Black Hawk helicopter on Orcas! Really fun to read about Orcas but also a really fascinating story about a kid on a crime spree, and that kid's troubled life.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, and found it quiet detailed. What made me appreciate the visuals even more was being from the Pacific Northwest as well (and having visited Seattle, Oregon, and Olympia all a couple of times in recent years when visiting the U.S.).
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad but engaging story of Colt and his mother from hell. This is a fascinating case study of a bright boy's way out of a life with no boundaries, rules, or social skills. I could not put this book down.
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