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From the Publisher
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
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.