Extended Audio Sample

Download American Desperado: My Life—From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample American Desperado: My Life—From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset, by Evan Wright, Jon Roberts Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (304 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Evan Wright, Jon Roberts Narrator: Christina Rooney, Erik Davies, Johnathan McClain, Kimberly Farr, Kirby Heyborne, Mark Bramhall, Mark Deakins, Meredith Scott Lynn, Steve Kramer, Thomas Vincent Kell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $25.00 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $20.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright, acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Generation Kill and cowriter 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 Medellín 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 twenty-two—one of the city’s leading nightclub impresarios, then journeying to Miami, where in a few short years he would rise to become the Medellín 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 twentieth 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 two-hundred-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.

Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Paul | 2/12/2014

    " very good read about the cocaine buisness . If you watched the documentory Cocaine cowboys you will love this book !!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Spencer Dom | 1/26/2014

    " ** the best best book I've read in a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ajay Menon | 1/25/2014

    " Really engrossing read about the life of a truly evil man. I'm honestly not sure if I believe all of it, hell, I'm not sure the author did, but it's makes for a compelling story whether it is or not. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by John Gervais | 1/5/2014

    " So this book was interesting for a while, but then you start to feel like you're just listening to some dude brag incessantly about how much of a bad ass he is. At the beginning of the book he Roberts states that he wrote it to set the record straight for his son, but who wants their son to read about how he used to skin people alive in Vietnam? I'm all for brutal honesty but Roberts doesn't seem to regret anything. He's clearly a psychopath and proud of it.. I felt like I needed a shower and a good comedy after this read.. If I wanna hear war stories I'd go to an AA meeting.. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Jon Roberts is the man considered most responsible for bringing cocaine into the United States during the era in which the Medellín Cartel flourished. He is a central figure in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which has been watched by millions.