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Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Hardcover – April 5, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 533 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This harrowing, turbocharged account of undercover life is reminiscent of Joseph D. Pistone's Donnie Brasco. After military service in Vietnam, Queen began his law enforcement career, eventually spending 20 years as an ATF special agent. In 1998, through contact with a "confidential informant," he began to hang with the Mongol Nation, a violent Southern California motorcycle club ("a tight-knit collective of crazies, unpredictable and unrepentant badasses") with 20 chapters in several states and 350 members both in and out of prison. Assuming the role of bearded biker "Billy St. John," Queen entered into a 28-month undercover operation. To gather evidence of homicide, weapons and narcotics violations, he sometimes wore a wire, knowing that its discovery could lead to his murder. Indeed, he was suspected at first of being a cop and forced to prove himself in more than a few dangerous situations. But after months of hazing, he became a trusted member. Queen steers clear of melodrama and captures both sides of his double life; the sadistic characters and criminal camaraderie are contrasted with his own inner turmoil, as he thought of the Mongols as his friends while the investigation escalated. The strength and white-hot intensity of the writing make this read like a movie, and Hollywood is certain to take note. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Apr. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Queen risked his life when he joined the Mongols as bearded biker Billy St. John. His adventures with one of America’s most notorious bike gangs, where he explains "murder and mayhem have become simply a lifestyle choice," resulted in the convictions of more than 50 Mongols and earned him an impressive cache of awards. More important, after harrowing trials that included selling drugs to driving getaway cars, Queen lived to tell all about it. Queen recounts these two years with a straightforward gruffness that captivated critics. His story is tight, suspenseful, and unstoppable—you know he’s going to bust the men who became like brothers to him, but it’s just a matter of when and how. The movie version starring Mel Gibson is slated for 2006.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400060842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400060849
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (533 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As the ex-wife of one of the main characters in the book, I can tell the readers that William Queen told the whole truth and nothing but the truth...it was 100% accurate and in no way exaggerated. Only on a few minor occasions did his recollection of events differ slightly from mine, but only the smallest and most unimportant of details. This book was amazing and well written - good job Billy! I cannot describe the feelings that ran through me as I read this book, as I read page after page of events that I remember like yesterday. I was also taken back to the phone call I got from Billy on May 19th, 2000, telling me who he was and what was happening. How I didn't belong with those people. Even though I had to re-live all the feelings of hurt and betrayal I felt the day my life changed forever, I am thankful now to be out of that life and where I am today. Not only was this man a hero in the eyes of many, but he changed my life. Billy, in the event you ever read this review, I just wanted you to know that.
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Format: Hardcover
Motorcycle clubs have been romanticized in this country for over fifty years and while 99% of them (and my brother-in-law is a member of a club) are decent, hard-working everyday guys and girls, it's that 1% that has always piqued the interest of the general public and the reason there were so many movies dealing with gangs like the Hell's Angels in the 1960's and 1970's. The public has an infatuation with them much like with the Mafia.

Bill Queen is nuts...has to be to do what he did and live amongst these people for over two years, doing drugs and commiting crimes just to prove his worth to the gang. And he didn't just risk his life then, but even now he is a target for those he helped bring to justice. It is most interesting how Queen notes that these men are so much like the Mafia in that there is true love and friendship among the members, and yet they wouldn't hesitate to kill their own if they stepped out of line. It's a kind of almost hive relationship that most people just cannot fathom.

Wow, what an incredibly riveting tale. Bill Queen certainly gives new meaning to the word guts.
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Format: Hardcover
A "great" book written by a true American hero. Queen exposes these bikers for what they are, criminals, family men, brothers, motorcycle enthusiasts and, most of all, too human. While some are absolutely evil, most seem to be guys who have been lured by the outlaw lifestyle and all its rewards without willing to accept its punishments as well. Remember, the motorcycle gang came into being primarily with true American heroes of WWII, looking for adventure after losing the pumped up lifestyle of war. William Queen goes under cover and remarkably infiltrates the Mongrol MC. Ultimately he becomes "patched in", a full fledged member of this criminal enterprise. The stories he tells are heartbreaking at times, brutal at others, but all the while Queen never lost sight of his goal of exposing them for what they do. He experiences what has become the all to often dilemma for these type of law enforcement agents. These are indeed his brothers and he is knowingly working to put them in prison for the rest of thier lives. Queen taps into his own sense of betrayal, outrage, sadness, and fear, as the investigation continues. Quite a remarkable investigation and a remarkable book.
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Format: Hardcover
If there's a lesson that can be drawn from Queen's lengthy travels through the rough part of town, it's that life as a Federal Agent isn't what it's cracked up to be. As a people, we're bred on a steady diet of flashy police dramas (CSI, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, etc.). They do little to prepare the average cadet for what they're going to confront in the criminal tar pit that Billy Queen wades into.

Undercover work, in general, is a fine way to ruin your marriage, wreck your nerves, and lose your sense of identity. Be prepared to sacrifice the life that you once had, and sadly witness the fallout that results. It's almost as if Queen suffers more than the people that he help put away. This is the fine print that the recruiters don't want you to read.

Speaking from direct experience, undercover work is essentially an act of betrayal. You live with these people, eat with them, party with them, and then testify against them in court. An agent might take years to be accepted into the fold, and then have to dump it all over the side of the ship in the blink of an eye. It's bad enough that you lose contact with your old friends, now you've got to give up all of your new ones. Guess what? Now you don't have any friends.

As Queen observes, it wasn't easy. There were actually times when he considered giving up his role as an ATF agent and crossing the line to the other side. I can't say that I blame him. His Mongol brethen often treated him with more respect, and genuine love, than his ATF handlers (who, more likely than not, saw Billy as an expendable "resource").

You're on your own, surrounded by a group of individuals who, by the standards of modern society, aren't much more than animals.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one who has LIVED the LIFE for over 30 of my 53 years, I can personally testify that the OMG lifestyle description in this book is right on, good or bad, this is pretty much the way it is.

My main problem with this book is that Agent Queen could really make it from Hang-around to Prospect to Patchholder Mongol in this daily environment of violence, crime, drug & alcohol abuse, and sex and maintain his ethical and moral legal criteria. The man definitely has some big stones, but are they THAT big.

I personally had a few brief brushes with the Mongols & Vagos both back in the early '80's, and it sounds like things haven't changed, but I believe there's a LOT of this tale that got left out.
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