The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor

by Mark Seal

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Overview

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal

“Forget fiction. Pop this jaw-dropper in your beach bag.” —USA Today

This shocking expose goes behind the headlines to uncover the true story of Clark Rockefeller, wealthy scion of a great American family, who kidnapped his own daughter and vanished. The police and FBI were baffled. Tips poured in, but every lead was a dead end … because “Clark Rockefeller” did not exist. In a gripping work of investigative journalism, Mark Seal reveals how German native Christian Gerhartsreiter came to the United States, where he stepped in and out of identities for decades, eventually posing as a Rockefeller for twelve years, married to a wealthy woman who had no idea who he really was. Fast-paced, hypnotic, and now updated with more stunning details, The Man in the Rockefeller Suit chillingly reveals the audacity and cunning of a shape-shifting con man.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452298033
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/25/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 411,224
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Seal is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where his piece on Gerhartsreiter was a finalist for a 2010 National Magazine Award. He is also the author of Wildflower. He lives in Aspen, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt

When the fingerprints came back from the lab, one thing was finally clear: the kidnapper was definitely not a Rockefeller. He was Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a forty-seven-year-old German immigrant who had come to America as a student in 1978. Shortly after his arrival, he disappeared into what the Boston district attorney would call “the longest con I've seen in my professional career.” The elaborate, labyrinthine nature of Gerhartsreiter's shapeshifting adventures, from the time he set foot in this country as a seventeen-year-old student right up to his disappearance, makes his story more bizarre than any gifted writer of fiction could possibly invent.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Foreword xiii

Prologue 1

Part 1

Chapter 1 Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter: Bergen, Germany 15

Chapter 2 Strangers on a Train 30

Chapter 3 Becoming American 43

Chapter 4 Christopher Chichester: San Marino, California 52

Chapter 5 The Secret Mission 81

Chapter 6 Christopher Crowe: Greenwich, Connecticut 95

Chapter 7 Wall Street 111

Chapter 8 Missing Persons 122

Chapter 9 Clark Rockefeller: New York, New York 133

Chapter 10 Sandra 152

Part 2

Chapter 11 "San Marino Bones" 167

Chapter 12 The Last Will and Testament of Didi Sohus 178

Chapter 13 The Country Squire 202

Chapter 14 Snooks 211

Chapter 15 The God of War 221

Chapter 16 The Boston Brahmin 236

Chapter 17 Peach Melba Nights 250

Chapter 18 "Find Out Who He Is" 263

Chapter 19 Chip Smith: Baltimore, Maryland 277

Chapter 20 The Manhunt 296

Chapter 21 One Last Con? 309

Afterword 321

Acknowledgments 343

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The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Totally bizarre true story.
jenifernelissen More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Mark Seals does a great job of telling how one man changed his name, background, and life. I was enthralled with how this man could convince so many people into thinking what he wanted them to think. He was able to get them to welcome them into their lives- sometimes into their homes to stay- without ever doubting what they were told. Through lies they thought were real he had people believing he worked on hit tv shows, went to USC Film school and, most famously, was a Rockefeller. This book gives you a front row seat into how it happened and how his house of cards fell apart. Or did it? You will be amazed and shocked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know it's true but still can't believe it. Great read and story.
Book-touched More than 1 year ago
A fascinating read. Hard to follow initially as Christian (aka Clark Rockefeller) and other characters and their histories are revealed. The magic was all in the Rockefeller name.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't read much in the "true crime" genre, but I was drawn to this story, and found that this book was well-written, thorough, and fascinating. I thought that the background and impact of this incredible criminal was thoughtfully presented. The author does jump around a little between past and present experience as he is uncovering the story, but it wasn't as distracting to me as it was other reviewers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit The man in the Rockefeller suit is about a man named James Frederick Mills. He poses as Clark Rockefeller for 30 years of his life. He is eventually caught in 2008. Some of the major themes in this novel are trust, status and identity. May characters trust James Frederick Mills and believe that he is truly Clark Rockefeller. Even his wife and children believe him. Status and identity are also very big themes in this novel because James Frederick Mill’s whole story is based upon the fact that he is obsessed with being a wealthy, well known man (AKA a Rockefeller). One thing that I liked about this novel was from the very beginning this book caught my attention. I found James Frederick Mills’ story to be very interesting. Once I started reading the book, I just couldn’t put it down. Some things that I didn’t like very much about the book was how unrealistic the story was. I just couldn’t believe that someone could get away with this kind of crime in our day and age. I personally believe that everyone should read this book. This book teaches you that you shouldn’t trust just anyone; you never know who they really are. I would give this book an overall rating of 5/5. This book is very interesting and tells a great story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reason I did not give this book a five is because it bounced around from story to story and as a result it became a little hard to follow. That being said, it was a great book. Mark Seals vividly illustrates the tale of one man who was able to just say any detail of his life that he wanted, and it appeared to be true to everyone around. His ability to lie through his teeth and become anybody, even a wealthy Rockefeller gives the book a special flare that I've never seen before in any other media, printed text or otherwise. It's a great book to read for people who enjoy mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great story. But there is not much information about how this guy supported himself, what motivated him...who is he?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book that was well worth reading. It had been recommended and I wasn't disappointed at all. Couldn't put it down! Enjoy!
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jhmJM More than 1 year ago
Like a lot of things I'm reading these days this book could do with some editing. A lot of detail as told to the author by people who came in contact with this dingbat over the years. Didn't need a couple of hundred pages of hearsay to establish that this guy was seriously loony, and lots of people are way too easy to fool. The writing is competent, the story is interesting, but the book is way too long. A shortened version would have made a good magazine article.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though we lived this story, it is a sensational book and also a very sad tale of a young boy that could have made a difference to the world, but chose a wrong path of getting there, which ruined his life and everyone around him. People tend to believe "charmers". As to why people do this, there is no real answer, but the story is exciting and so well written by Mark Seal, you are kept going from page to page, and not wanting to stop. The story is not over yet, and the outcome will be had sometime soon. Enjoy this book for each of your family members. They will all find something different in the pages but will not be able to put it down. I give it a GREAT review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago