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Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America's Deadliest Biker Gangs Hardcover – February 5, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Facing more than 20 years behind bars for manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, Falco quickly accepted the government’s offer: in return for certain considerations, he would infiltrate the Vagos, a particularly nasty Southern California biker gang. Unfortunately, Falco wasn’t a biker and had no experience with biker gangs. Like William Queen’s Under and Alone (2005) and Jay Dobyns’ No Angel (2009), this is a tense, violent, frequently distasteful story of a man living in a world of extreme violence, afraid his cover could be blown at any second. Of course, Dobyns and Queen were actual undercover agents. Falco was a regular guy with no training or experience, which makes the story that much more harrowing. In describing his nearly five years living with three separate biker gangs, Falco, ably assisted by true-crime author Droban, whose Running with the Devil (2007) followed a government infiltration of the Hells Angels, makes the reader feel at least some of the fear, disgust, and sheer panic he endured. The book contains some graphic language and descriptions, but, given its subject matter, most readers will probably assume that going in. --David Pitt

Review

“Falco rose to "officer" status in three biker gangs, and his book – Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America's Deadliest Biker Gangs – is the more polished, measured and authoritative of the two.” ―Los Angeles Times comparing to George Rowe's Gods of Mischief

“Absorb Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws as one part juicy scoop, one part machismo on parade, and Falco can take some sad and beautiful snapshots.” ―Boston Globe

“Falco was facing a minimum sentence of 22 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and manufacture hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine when the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department made him an offer he couldn't refuse--become an undercover informant instead of going to jail. The bulk of this fascinating autobiography describes in detail Falco's work infiltrating the Vagos Motorcycle Club, an outlaw biker gang considered in 2003 to be the ‘largest urban terrorist' organization in the U.S. Falco's main assignment reads like a synopsis of the book: ‘Get inside, gather intelligence on the gang, identify the club's leaders, purchase drugs from them, and collect as many illegal firearms as you can.' Falco describes in almost excruciating detail how he rose in the Vagos ranks from a go-fer to a full-fledged member, a three-year descent into a violent world of drug abuse, Neanderthal treatment of women, and constant fighting that left Falco living constantly ‘in a state of veiled paranoia,' even after the Vagos gang was brought down by the law. It is Falco's unrelenting depiction of the stupidity and brutality in the Vagos biker world that makes his story powerful.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Facing more than 20 years behind bars for manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, Falco quickly accepted the government's offer: in return for certain considerations, he would infiltrate the Vagos, a particularly nasty Southern California biker gang. Unfortunately, Falco wasn't a biker and had no experience with biker gangs. Like Jay Dobyns' No Angel (2009) and William Queen's Under and Alone (2005), this is a tense, violent, frequently distasteful story of a man living in a world of extreme violence, afraid his cover could be blown at any second. Of course, Dobyns and Queen were actual undercover agents. Falco was a regular guy with no training or experience, which makes the story that much more harrowing. In describing his nearly five years living with three separate biker gangs, Falco, ably assisted by true-crime author Droban, whose Running with the Devil (2007) followed a government infiltration of the Hells Angels, makes the reader feel at least some of the fear, disgust, and sheer panic he endured. The book contains some graphic language and descriptions, but, given its subject matter, most readers will probably assume that going in.” ―Booklist

“The paranoia of crooks, the desperation of incarceration, the fear of getting whacked, and survival working undercover in a brutal biker world devoid of common decency. You can read about it all in this book. But Charles Falco actually lived it and miraculously came out a better man.” ―Chris Blatchford, author of The Black Hand

“Gritty and real, tragic and brutal. The book is filled with powerful characters. A compelling read . . . not for the sqeamish.” ―MotorcycleUSA.com on Kerrie Droban's Prodigal Father, Pagan Son

“One of the most extraordinary true crime autobiographies.” ―Sydney Morning Herald on Kerrie Droban's Prodigal Father, Pagan Son

“Raw honesty and horrendous recounts . . . Prodigal Father, Pagan Son is written with emotion, detail and brilliant imagery. The book is able to capture the audience with authenticity and believability.” ―Nomads Leathers on Kerrie Droban's Prodigal Father, Pagan Son

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1St Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312640145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312640149
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I read about 4 books per year. Not a lot, but more than the average adult.

Saw this book on the news while watching "The Following". I live in Socal, in the Inland Empire, and I encounter Vagos on a weekly/monthly basis. I think this book was extremely accurate, and entertaining. This is an extremely easy read. Which I believe, Falco was going for, I don't believe he was trying to make a Catcher in the Rye about motorcycle gangs.

So take the hateful reviewers with a grain of salt. For all people who are fascinated by motorcycle gang life, this is a great book. It gives you a really good idea of what undercover work is like as well, extremely stressful!

Many moments while reading this book I found myself laughing out loud or cringing. If you are an avid reader, reading a book a month, don't buy this book. This is a very basic outline of a Rico Case against a motorcycle gang, it's not meant to change your life or bring you into another dimension of serenity. It's a book about gang violence and undercover work.

Let me tell you as an Inland Empire resident who moved from Orange County CA - This level of violence really happens, and it happens right out in the open most of the time. The fact that this gang tried to blow up a police station by re-routing the gas lines into their office shows you how ruthless and crazy these people are. And for that reason - I feel this book was worth the money, and was very entertaining.

Hope this review helped you in making your purchase.
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Format: Hardcover
So.. This book has its truisms and its falsehoods.. Also a lot of the demeaning behavior depicted in this book are embellished for one but also do not represent even the majority if the club. The majority are regular non tweak era.. Working men with wives or girlfriends... I am the club member portrayed in the book by the name if Bandit... It's funny reading the elaborate eccentric over the top pieces that Charles depicted.. Sorry to say but I knew him truthfully. Although he was likely stressed with the situation of the case he truthfully enjoyed a lot. Like the womanizing is not something he didn't partial in. Or the meth etc... In the book he begs for live and acceptance from the reader by making himself out an angel. But he left out plenty about himself. If she had any sense if duty for community or law enforcement it was only due to his situation. He paints himself in a golden light so as to not have to see his earned federal prison time and to make money. He continued further investigations and ratting because I know for fact he truly loved the outlaw biker lifestyle and wanted and enjoyed living it. I read this and laugh at many parts but the truth is every org has good brothers and bad apples. I am a good person, a family man, and I work 70 hrs a week. I don't sell drugs or beat my fiancé. I am a great father to my 2 year ild daughter and am living my life right. But to be honest while active in the club you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could say that I ever fought web I didn't have to. There were many who knew me as standup dude who lived by the club motto. "I gave what I got". As in I gave respect when given to me. And dealt disrespect ten fold when given to me. But I never looked for it and was often very cordial to "civilians"
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is very good, one of the best on the subject, but the Kindle download version of this is missing the excellent photos the regular book store version has, and it stinks. They should tell you it doesn't include the photos. Don't bother with the Kindle download of this, get the regular book version of it instead or you'll be missing out on the good photos that go with it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An account of a life undercover in three biker gangs. Unfortunately, it isn't
well written. If you like to read about undercover work Under and Alone by
William Queen is much better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a truly horrible book. It is completely incoherent. It's nothing but a jumbled mess of impressions and half-assed anecdotes. I get that Charles Falco is not an author, but he theoretically had professional help writing this book. Whatever. Between the two authors of this book apparently neither one could figure out how to tell a story from start to end. This was the biggest waster of $10 I've ever spent in my life.
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It gets 2 stars instead of 1 because the book held my interest-- but that's about it. This book strains credibility, between the dual authors' (Drobain and Falco) depiction of Falco's daring do and Herculean feats, miraculous near misses and the depiction of outlaw motorcycle clubs as composed exclusively of sociopathic drug addled misanthropes. Any organization composed of neanderthals of the kind depicted in this book, devoid of any trace of humanity, incapable of loyalty or natural affections, would not last the day, much less morph into international organizations. What's more, I'm a biker-- I'm not an outlaw, but I've spent some leisure time with 1 percenters, and like everyone else, some are affable, some are reserved, some seem to have something to prove, but I have yet to meet the kind of 'typical' outlaw the authors depict. Pass on this book. If you want a better insight on OMC life, try Billy Queen's book on his infiltration of the Mongols, Sonny Barger's autobiography of his life in the Hells Angels, Scott Erikson's book on his life in the Mongols, or Donald Charles Davis' 'Out Bad'. All these books honestly depict the good, the bad and the ugly in OMC life.
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