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The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of A Serial Imposter
Seal, Mark, 1953- (Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
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Penguin Putnam
A real-life Talented Mr. Ripley, the unbelievable thirty-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 seventeen, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began.

Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning twelve-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.



Baker & Taylor
A probing and cinematic exploration of an audacious impostor, Christian Gerhartsreiter, and his "talented Mr. Ripley" story as Clark Rockefeller.

Baker
& Taylor

The Vanity Fair contributing editor and author of Wildflower traces the 30-year con of Clark Rockefeller, a German-born immigrant who assumed numerous identities to charm his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions before divorcing a Harvard graduate and kidnapping his own daughter. 75,000 first printing.
The unbelievable thirty-year run of a shape-shifting con man. Clark Rockefeller's story is a strange twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man--because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. Born in a small village in Germany, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was obsessed with getting to America. At seventeen, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents. Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder across the country--culminating in a twelve-year marriage to 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 chilling connection to the bizarre mid-1980s disappearance of a California couple.--From publisher description.
Traces the thirty-year con of Clark Rockefeller, a German-born immigrant who assumed numerous identities to charm his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions before divorcing his Harvard-graduate wife and kidnapping his own daughter.

Authors: Seal, Mark, 1953-
Statement of Responsibility: Mark Seal
Title: The man in the Rockefeller suit
the astonishing rise and spectacular fall of a serial imposter
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
Characteristics: viii, 323 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subject Headings: Gerheitsreiter, Christian, 1961- Impostors and imposture United States Case studies
Topical Term: Impostors and imposture
LCCN: 2010048908
ISBN: 9780670022748
0670022748
Branch Call Number: 364.1633 S
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A work of investigative journalism that goes beyond the headlines to explore the case of Clark Rockefeller, descendent of the Rockefeller family, who kidnapped his own daughter and vanished. Tips poured in but all lead to dead ends because Clark Rockefeller did not exist.

2012 nominee. "In 2008, Clark Rockefeller, of the wealthy Rockefeller family, was arrested for kidnapping his daughter. But this criminal act was quickly overshadowed by some more startling revelations: Clark Rockefeller doesn't exist..." - Booklist


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Jun 11, 2014
  • PatrickLongworth1969 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Quite a book, I'm not a fan of true crime books but this one was interesting and not gruesome like some murder books can be.

Jul 15, 2012
  • mudflapflossy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I get that this is a true story however it read more like a great mystery novel. What a life this guy led, bizarre is the best adjective I can come up with. This is a beyond doubt an entertaining read, and a refreshing change from the blood & gore prevalent in most True Crime stories.

Aug 04, 2011
  • jacobsikora rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is the best book I've read this year. It starts off with the kidnapping event and then proceeds to tell the life stories of the con man. Mark Seal does a tremendous job digging up all sorts of information about the past lives of Clark Rockefeller while still pacing the story to drive back to the kidnapping. Further, through his extensive interviews Seal pieces together a real personality for Rockefeller that was enchanting, recreating the experience that many people apparently had with him. I recommend this book to anyone looking for solid longform journalism or anyone looking for a fast paced non-fiction thriller.

"Reinvention is the immigrant's ultimate desire, and what German immigrant Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter did over more than three decades in America was reinvention on steroids. He became Clark Rockefeller of Boston for 12 years, able to fool the American elite, until the breakup of his marriage and the kidnapping of his own daughter revealed the deception. What makes me sad is that reinvention--of the benign variety--is nearly impossible today, with enhanced technologies for surveillance, and the pervasive reach of intrusive bureaucracy. While Rockefeller/Gerhartsreiter took it to unfortunate extremes, the possibility of constant reinvention is an essential part of the American story."
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