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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 Audiobook, by 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: Jon Roberts, Evan Wright Narrator: Johnathan McClain, Christina Rooney, Mark Bramhall, Erik Davies, Mark Deakins, Kimberly Farr, Kirby Heyborne, Thomas Vincent Kelly, Steve Kramer, Meredith Scott Lynn Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2011 ISBN: 9780307704658
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The true story of super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys. 
 
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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A spellbinding narrative of drugs, death and debauchery as told by one of America's most notorious criminals….A savage, unrelenting tale. ─Kirkus Reviews

  • 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
     

  • “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.
  • “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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 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 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.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wayne Purvis | 11/27/2013

    " The best true crime memoir I've read so far "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Veronica | 11/24/2013

    " Guy is a total sociopath....fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Snyder | 10/28/2013

    " I love the action in this book. If you like Maria stories, this is a good one for you. Got this book through Good reads and very much appreciate it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephan | 10/10/2013

    " The cocaine cowboys of the 80's is awesome to learn about. It was amusing to learn that the coast guard was buying boats off the same man building the boats for the Colombians. Also about how to properly dispose of a body in the ocean. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Bucci | 9/18/2013

    " Very scary how this guy lived his life, "evil is stronger than good." It was a very interesting book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Graber | 6/7/2013

    " Even if only 65% of this book is true, this guy lead an amazing life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 4/3/2013

    " Fascinating insight into the cocaine business in the 80s "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacquelinelborda | 2/11/2013

    " I agree with Gervais' comments. The narrative is too repetitious and becomes boring. I have read much better books on the cartels and the mafia. I cannot understand why it is a bestseller. Fortunately, I borrowed it from our public library. I did not like the style, windy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shandra | 11/1/2012

    " Wasn't the best book I've read, but interesting with a lot of repetitive statements. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joleen Denman | 9/3/2012

    " I hate to admit I really enjoyed reading this book. Though overly violent, aggressive and illegal for my taste it must have been the shock factor that kept me hooked. I can't believe people actually lived (still live) like this! An interesting read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Davehbo | 8/14/2012

    " Unreadable crap "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy Getz | 12/6/2011

    " VERY detailed...almost too much. But it is a very interesting read. "

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About the Author
JON ROBERTS is 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. 
About the Narrators

Johnathan McClain is an American actor, voice-over talent, and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He pursued stage acting in New York for a number of years and has appeared in many television series, including Law & Order: SVU, Medium, Scoundrels, and CSI: Miami. He also has several narration credits, including Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and Jeremy Logan novels by Lincoln Child.

Mark Bramhall has won eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Audiobook Publishers Association’s prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been named by Publishers Weekly and AudioFile magazine among their “Best Voices of the Year” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.

Erik Davies is an accomplished audiobook narrator and voice-over actor. His stage credits include G.R. Point, Unpublished Letters, and Flats Fixed. Some of his television and film appearances include ER, Third Watch, and a starring role in the hit indie comedy High Society: A Pot Boiler. His audiobook narration has won three AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.

Kimberly Farr is an actress and eight-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered numerous Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.

Steve Kramer is a prolific voice actor. Known for his work in anime, he has voiced characters in various Power Rangers series, including the voice of Darkonda in Power Rangers in Space.