Synopses & 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.
"Jon Roberts was perhaps the most infamous and powerful man in the United States at one time, but most people have never even heard of him. In this fascinating and scrupulously detailed account, Roberts's life from his days as head of the drug cartel in Florida to his time as an assassin in Vietnam is for the first time revealed to the world. This gripping audio edition is read by a large, gifted cast of narrators, including Mark Bramhall as Roberts, Erik Davies, Mark Deakins, Kirby Heyborne, Thomas Vincent Kelly, and Jonathan McClain. Bramhall's standout performance is stern and composed, well capturing Roberts's cool exterior. When an audiobook is this good, listening becomes a compulsive act. A Crown hardcover." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
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.