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American Desperado: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset Paperback – Illustrated, October 16, 2012
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“A spellbinding narrative of drugs, death and debauchery as told by one of America's most notorious criminals….A savage, unrelenting tale.”
“The Moby Dick of mob memoirs…here is everything you've wanted to know—and much better, here is the way everything felt. Evan Wright puts you so deep inside a career in organized crime that midway through you'll begin expecting a knock on your door and a call from your lawyer.”
─David Lipsky, author of the national bestseller ABSOLUTELY AMERICAN
“Delivers all the guilty pleasures one expects from a gangster's memoir, but Wright's superb prose offers something more: a meditation on good and evil during the glittering decay of late 20th century civilization…One of the best books of the year.”
─James L. Swanson, Edgar Award winning author of the New York Times bestsellers MANHUNT and BLOODY CRIMES
“AMERICAN DESPERADO is not only stranger but so much better than fiction…Captivating, addictive, and head-spinning, this one-of-a-kind book earns its place on the top shelf of true crime accounts.”
─Chuck Hogan, New York Times bestselling author of PRINCE OF THIEVES (basis of the Academy Award-nominated “The Town”)
“American Desperado is the first great crime book of the 21st Century. Dangerous, darkly hilarious, hair-raising, and terrifically written, Wright's prose spills over with the kind of insane, brilliantly rendered detail and dialogue that make you want to call people at four in the morning and read out loud.”
─Jerry Stahl, New York Times bestselling author of PERMANENT MIDNIGHT
“AMERICAN DESPERADO is one of the most disturbing memoirs I’ve ever read…Evan Wright does a brilliant job getting into Roberts’ scary head … I never want to be in the same room with Jon Roberts, but I couldn't stop reading his book.”
─Steven Gaines, New York Times bestselling author of PHILISTINES AT THE HEDGEROW and FOOL’S PARADISE
“Seldom have I read an account of criminal enterprise that took me so deeply into the blackness of a man’s soul—a scary read, pounding and relentless and irresistible.”
─Bruce Porter, author of BLOW
“Imagine if Mister Kurtz from HEART OF DARKNESS sat down with Dick Cavett for a little chat about the nature of good and evil, empathy, fatherhood, violence, drugs, power, self-knowledge, women, family, the hero versus the anti-hero, freedom, imprisonment...Try as you might, you can't really put this book down.”
─Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author of HORSE SOLDIERS and IN HARM’S WAY
“A tour de force. The best crime book since WISEGUY. Puts you in the middle of a world where it's wonderful to be a tourist, terrible to be a resident. I am filled with nothing but admiration and envy for Evan Wright.”
─Rich Cohen, New York Times bestselling co-author of WHEN I STOP TALKING YOU’LL KNOW I’M DEAD, and author of TOUGH JEWS
About the Author
EVAN WRIGHT is 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.
- Publisher : Crown; Illustrated edition (October 16, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 576 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307450430
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307450432
- Item Weight : 14.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #118,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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There are so many aspects and layers to American Desperado. Government corruption local and worldwide; clandestine CIA operations which exposed the Iran-Contra affair and the American invasion of Panama during the 1980's. There are numerous depictions of famous movie stars and professional athletes exploiting the pleasures of the cocaine lifestyle in its glory days during the 70's and 80's.
However criminal Jon Roberts is and the world he lived in tells a part of history that is unforgettable.
Let me put it straight to you, I know people that knew him personally and was under his employ from working with Horses. Jon is very unapologetic he was one of the meanest sons of bitches to walk the streets of South Florida and New York City. He had the capacity to kill and maim and go to lunch like it never happened. A sociopath with a big heart but also had a dark side that one would be best to have respected and feared if they crossed him .
The book is good, funnt at times and is the most in depth look at what was going on in the 80s in Miami.
He does not blow his own horn at how big a player he was he does not need to.
Robert's candid, brutal honesty is refreshing. He just lays it all out there.
The author was painstaking in trying to verify Robert's claims to let readers know whether it was true or not. The author also gives detailed backgrounds of the stories so the reader knows what Roberts is referring to.
Robert's meets everyone. His opinion of celebs and other crime figures like Griselda Blanco and OJ Simpson are surprising and often hilarious. The stories involving cartel smuggler Max Mermelstein are pure comedy gold. Roberts missed his calling as a comedian.
There are times it's hard to believe Robert's stories; they are so over the top.
I got tired of Robert's constant referral to himself as "evil". One time would have sufficed.
The ending is disappointing. It didn't wrap things up well. For instance, we have no explanation of how things ended between Roberts and long-time girlfriend Toni Moon, nor how he met his current wife.
Top reviews from other countries
It gives a excellent insight into the world of drugs, and into the mind of someone who could be considered a psychopath. This also covers Jon's earlier life as part of the Mafia in New York, as well as his time spent in Vietnam. This book also reveals a lot of the corruption that was (maybe still) present at the time, from police officers, politicians, judges and other law officials alike.
Jon has lived a crazy and almost unbelievable life. Evan has used footnotes to evidence any points made by Jon and others that help to verify or deny claims made in the interviews, or to simply add more information outside of the transcripts which I thought was a really nice touch.
Just read the book, you won't regret it.