American Desperado is possibly the most jaw-dropping, event-filled, adrenaline-soaked criminal autobiography ever written. Like a real-life Scarface Jon was born into the upper levels of the Gambino crime family and witnessed his first murder at age seven. He became a one-man juvenile crime wave before joining an assassination squad in Vietnam. He returned to New York at age 20 to become one of the city's top nightclub promoters, then journeyed to Miami where he became the de facto transportation chief of the Medellin Cartel, and along with a tech-wizard partner, created some of the most sophisticated smuggling technologies ever. With a hulking 6'6" bodyguard always at his side, and a rural fortress protected by mortars, tear-gas cannons, and a gold-fanged attack dog, Roberts was brutally effective at what he did. To law enforcement, he was known as the "Bearded Gringo," a spectre they could never touch. To United States senators and CIA officials, he was "the guy who can get things done". He eventually formed a clandestine alliance with the US government and in the end found personal late-life redemption.
©2011 Jon Roberts and Evan Wright (P)2011 Random House AudioGo LTD
The subject matter can be challenging but that is clear from the description - the subject of the story did not become what we has through being a nice person and doing nice things.I found the story compelling but it is clear that the author is not totally convinced by all of the claims made which in some ways makes the story more interesting. Even if only half of it is true I think it gives an interesting insight into what was going on behind the scenes in 1970's New York and Miami.
I have to say, I won't be hurrying to purchase another book by Jon Roberts! I found the narrators voice rather grating too....
The story is an uncomfortable listen - I was fully expecting some grit/violence but this was a whole other level....stopped listening altogether, not a nice story!
Did you ever wince at Joe Pesci in Goodfellas? Hide behind your hands at James Caan getting shot to pieces in the Godfather? Start wearing a pastel t-shirt and white suit in the 80's? Well this guy really lived that life. Jon Roberts paints his story both brutally and frankly. At times I found myself saying "he really is one evil SOB!" Thankfully for most of us, we won't ever have to experience any of the things Jon did. But what a life, what a story. By the end of it I found myself thinking, I'm glad he managed to get this story down before he died, because it really is quite extraordinary.
An absolutely brilliant book about a mafia associated sociopath. Even if you have doubts about some of the events the biographer (Evan Wright) has done his research and provides witness testimony where possible. So, if you don't believe the story it is still a great read.
I was tentative about buying this audiobook as I wasn't sure it was a story I would warm to, but after two hours or so I was engrossed. It certainly helps that the narrators are perfect for the roles they play. You soon learn who is who and it gets to the point where you can't wait for Jon to be back on giving his insight into the era. His life is laid bare. There is no real apology for who he was or what he did, but the reasons his life was steered down that path all become apparent. There are some dark and brutal truths that horrify but also many beautiful, endearing moments too and a few where i couldn't stop laughing. All the stories are researched for truth by the co-writer where possible so it isn't merely the truth according to Jon. I listened to all 25 hours in the space of a month driving to and from work each day and I was devastated when I got to the end. I look forward to listening again in a year or so - definitely the sign of a great audiobook.
This book is the story of a narcissist and sociopath who's life involves a literal who's who of the worlds most infamous gangsters, criminals and drug dealers. This book provides a facinating and disturbing insight into the life of a real high level criminal. At times the book is unbelievable but is verified where possible by Evan Wright and as such it does make you wonder how Jon Roberts evaded prosecution for so long! If you like films like Goodfellas, Blow, The Godfather etc you will not be dissapointed!!
Downloaded this not knowing much about him or the story. Fantastic, recommended to others and they loved it as well.
Book is well written, simple and this outrageous lifestyle is commented on as very matter of fact. the story telling is great and Miami does not even happen until the second half.
If you like crime / mafia / drug storys like me , this is the book for you , Great story telling , great voices , such a great story , i found myself standing listening rather than working , Its a must
Really great book, thought about it for weeks after, if you would like to discover what it was like living in a world, where in the morning your "friends" want to buy you lunch, however in the afternoon will think nothing of killing you. Where amazing rewards come quick and fast but disappear just as quickly. Great narration. The tone & style is utterly compelling....you will struggle to stop listening to this. Highly recommended.
I was just in amazement at how it all worked
Incredible story, Incredible life. really good listen, I loved it. this story is no holds bar account of a serious bad boy!!
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