American Desperado: My Life-From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset

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Broadway Paperbacks, Oct 16, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 547 pages
2 Reviews
In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright, acclaimed for his New York Times bestselling book Generation Kill and co-writer of the Emmy-winning HBO series it spawned, began a series of conversations with super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the fabulously successful documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Those conversations would last three years, during which time Wright came to realize that Roberts was much more than the de-facto “transportation chief” of the Medellin Cartel during the 1980s, much more than a facilitator of a national drug epidemic. As Wright's tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping tales, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon.

Roberts, in fact, seemed to be a prodigy of criminality – but one with a remarkable self-awareness and a fierce desire to protect his son from following the same path.

American Desperado is Roberts' no-holds-barred account of being born into Mafia royalty, witnessing his first murder at the age of seven, becoming a hunter-assassin in Vietnam, returning to New York to become -- at age 22 -- one of the city's leading nightclub impresarios, then journeying to Miami where in a few short years he would rise to become the Medellin Cartel's most effective smuggler.

But that's just half the tale.

The roster of Roberts' friends and acquaintances reads like a Who's Who of the latter half of the 20th century and includes everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, and O.J. Simpson to Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, and Manuel Noriega.

Nothing if not colorful, Roberts surrounded himself with beautiful women, drove his souped-up street car at a top speed of 180 miles per hour, shared his bed with a 200-pound cougar, and employed a 6”6” professional wrestler called “The Thing” as his bodyguard. Ultimately, Roberts became so powerful that he attracted the attention of the Republican Party's leadership, was wooed by them, and even was co-opted by the CIA for which he carried out its secret agenda.

Scrupulously documented and relentlessly propulsive, this collaboration between a bloodhound journalist and one of the most audacious criminals ever is like no other crime book you've ever read. Jon Roberts may be the only criminal who changed the course of American history.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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User Review  - scuzzy - LibraryThing

If you're squeamish with gory details, against the glorifying of crime, and don't like the odd swear word, this book is not you. However, if like me you like it told with the subtlety of an elephant ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a lie on multiple levels.Jon has wrong I. First wife his blonde his second wife was Janice Keene. Former Playboy bunny. .
Her father head of Miami Herald. Janice
was murdered by her
boyfriend a dermatology docter.The girl in car accident was a speedball addict screwing his best friend.The original prior to Sinatras. Tramp who tried sue his parents and stole from his parents. I was his love of life halo alo. Alice Wendelken devoted to this day. Jack shall always live in my heart He wrote. New York New York two years prior Frank Sinatra NY NY song. Sally Jesse Raphel. Most popukar radio intervew and Jack Buccino legacy lives on. He was know tFake and felonious rip off a shame. He was on Rachel host who made famous her red eyeglasses. Jack lives on s and I have the music
New York New York had to say it twice on popular tv culture like tv host interview Sally Jesse Raphael. Years before. Jack asked me to marry. He will always be my love
 

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About the author (2012)

JON ROBERTS is the man considered most responsible for bringing cocaine into the United States during the era in which the Medellin Cartel flourished. He is a central figure in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which has been watched by millions. EVAN WRIGHT is considered one of the best nonfiction writers in America. A two-time National Magazine Award Winner and recipient of the Columbia University School of Journalism and Harvard University Niemen Foundation Lukas Prize, he is a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair and author of the bestseller Generation Kill as well as Hella Nation.


From the Hardcover edition.

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