Synopses & Reviews
Tony Dokoupil is a senior writer for NBC News. He was a senior reporter at Newsweek, where the article that led to this book first appeared. Dokoupil holds a masters degree in American studies from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.
"NBC News senior writer Dokoupil offers a gripping examination of his longtime marijuana-dealing father, as well as a researched look at the evolution of American narcotics laws. In the early 1970s, Dokoupil's father, also named Tony, dropped out of graduate school to deal marijuana. The charismatic 'Old Man' was quickly able to make the necessary connections and, with support from a woman he married, rose to a position of power on the East Coast drug circuit, eventually setting up base in Miami. According to Dokoupil, who grew up in 1980s Miami, his father's constant need for excitement and hedonistic tendencies coupled with an ever-changing drug market led to his eventual downfall. Drug and prostitute binges, risky schemes to smuggle drugs across borders, shady associates, and the frequent mistreatment of his family (including throwing a knife at his wife and leaving his four-year-old son alone at a hotel at Disneyworld) eventually led to the family falling apart and Tony's incarceration in 1992. Dokoupil's sharp eye for detail makes for a lively and often moving narrative full of cinematic scenes and snappy dialogue. Dokoupil draws on his experience as a reporter to deliver an unflinching and detailed look at a criminal family's life." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
In the tradition of Blow and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Tony Dokoupil's vivid memoir recounts the life of his father, Big Tony: the undisputed, multi-millionaire king of the 1980's Miami marijuana trade . . . until it all went spectacularly up in smoke.
For NBC News Senior Writer Tony Dokoupil, growing up in the technicolor fantasy land of 1980's Miami was a dream. He attended the prestigious Gulliver Prep with Bush family members and spent weekends yachting in crystal blue waters off the Miami Keys. A typical day would see his mom head off to Jazzercise decked out in feathered earrings and silver spandex while his father drank daiquiris on the lanai and cruised around in sports cars that were eventually leant to the production crews of Miami Vice. They lived a life of excess and privilege; all built on the springy, sticky, spongy foundation of Columbia's finest.
Yet beneath the glitzy surface lay a dark world of midnight drug smuggles, week-long heroin binges, domestic violence, prostitution, turncoat informants and the increasing pressure of Reagan's War on Drugs. What began as a peace-filled gentleman's trade populated by bleachy-haired Jimmy Buffet pirates soon turned into a violent international business fueled by greed, and Big Tony's empire crashed and burned.
An excellent blend of reportage, a cultural snapshot of 80's Miami, and a deeply personal memoir, Tony Dokoupil's dramatic book presents a layered portrait of a complicated man, while detailing his determination to replant the Dokoupil family tree after it has taken one hit too many.