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American Kingpin Audiobook

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road Drugs Empire

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of American Kingpin by Nick Bilton, read by Will Damron.

From New York Times best-selling author Nick Bilton comes a true-life thriller about the rise and fall of Ross Ulbricht, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, the founder of the online black market Silk Road.

In 2011, Ulbricht, a 26-year-old libertarian idealist and former Boy Scout, launched 'a website where people could buy anything anonymously, with no trail whatsoever that could lead back to them'. He called it Silk Road, opened for business on the Dark Web, and christened himself the Dread Pirate Roberts (after the Princess Bride character). The site grew at a tremendous pace, quickly becoming a $1.2 billion enterprise where you could buy or sell drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, guns, grenades, and poisons.

The Silk Road soon caught the attention of the feds, who embarked on an epic two-year manhunt for the site's proprietor. Ulbricht, in the meantime, struggled to maintain control of his double life and his marketplace, which he originally started to prove that legalising drugs could make society safer. He gradually abandoned his libertarian ideals to rule Silk Road with increasingly authoritarian force. At one point he engaged the services of hired hitmen to take out employees he felt had wronged him. Soon some of the federal agents who were supposed to be hunting for Ulbricht were lured into the dark world and switched sides to join him.

This is a true-life thriller about ambition gone awry, spurred on by the defining clash of our time: the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralised web advocates and the old world of government control, order and the rule of law. Bilton's dazzling rendering and gift for narrative make for an endlessly fascinating drama.

©2017 Nick Bilton (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    S. Bramble 23/12/2017
    S. Bramble 23/12/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely gripping"
    What made the experience of listening to American Kingpin the most enjoyable?

    This story is told like the author was alongside Ross Ulbricht for his entire life which makes me believe some of the smaller details of the book are just entered for the sake of making the story complete. However, because of this, the story flows extremely well and paints a detailed picture of Ross's life


    Any additional comments?

    This book is absolutely gripping. This book starts off slowly, but soon gets completely riveting. It describes how The Silk Road grew from a small site selling magic mushrooms to the world's biggest online drug store, netting millions for Ross Ulbricht. Although the minor details could be fabricated, Bilton has pieced together the key points of the growth of the Silk Road and takes you on an epic journey from the start to the end of the Silk Road leaving you in no doubt as to Ross's guilt. An excellent book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Smythe UK 13/12/2017
    A. Smythe UK 13/12/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Thought provoking and addictive listen!"

    I wasn't enamoured with the writing or narration for this book. It doesn't flow well in places and so many phrases and sentences are repeated, I found myself rolling my eyes and tutting in the same way I do when watching a poorly presented documentary on TV.
    The narration sounds a little robotic to begin with, but you do get used to it as the story unfolds.

    With my criticisms out the way, it's important to note that I was fascinated from beginning to end. I had heard of the Silk Road, but knew little about it all.
    What is clear, is that the author Nick Bilton has done his research (as mentioned at the start and end of the book); the meticulous details and chronological presentation shows how carefully Bilton worked to piece the facts together.
    It is an incredible and enthralling true story and despite some misgivings regarding writing and narration, I could not wait to hear the next installment on my daily commute.
    Recommend.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirstine 27/01/2018
    Kirstine 27/01/2018
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    " Enthralling insight into the dark web"

    I didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded this book, but I’m very glad I did for it is a gripping and astonishing story about the creation of a massive world-wide online business facilitating the sale of drugs, guns and even body parts using the hidden world of the dark web aided by the employment untraceable bitcoin currency. The pacy writing style and the exciting cat and mouse tussle between those running the illicit website and the powers of law and order make this enthralling listen.

    The narrator is excellent and helps create the feeling that one is experiencing the thrill of the chase.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirsteen Tain, United Kingdom 07/01/2018
    Kirsteen Tain, United Kingdom 07/01/2018 Member Since 2018
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    "excellent story"

    I loved this book. The narration is excellent and keeps the listener engaged. The story is fairly fast paced and fascinating. I also found it pretty shocking in places.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Caldwell 18/11/2017
    Simon Caldwell 18/11/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "Can't believe it's not fiction!"

    Really loved this. The story is well told with a performance from the narrator that does this story justice. It was fascinating to see both sides of the story and shows that both criminals and law enforcement are just people. Could not recommend this more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beatrice 14/02/2018
    Beatrice 14/02/2018
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    "Can’t put it away"

    I learned about the story though the podcast “Case files” and found it so interesting, I immediately purchased the audiobook and can’t stop listening. I constantly have to remind myself that this really happened.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr 05/01/2018
    Mr 05/01/2018 Member Since 2016
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    "The power of the internet, another example."

    Powerful example of the potential to rise against law and order. Using avenues that simply cannot be accessed by anything other than the internet.

    Will Damron is an excellent narrator in my opinion.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emmet Gardner 20/12/2017
    Emmet Gardner 20/12/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Great Listen"

    Great listen, highly recommended. Made me sorry when car journeys came to an end. !

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 14/12/2017
    Chris 14/12/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "great listen *****"

    what an amazing story, couldnt stop listening.
    highly recommended for lovers of a good story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lee 23/11/2017
    lee 23/11/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "a very interesting and well written / read account"

    a very interesting and well written / read account
    i really enjoyed it and look forward to more like it

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Adnan Maddix
    united kingdom
    15/10/17
    Overall
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    Story
    "Really good "

    No matter how good you are if you gamble too many times you will get caught.

    Great book.

    It just interesting that there is so much going on out there. You dont know what you dont know.

    Its a must read. I finished it in 3 days

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Horwell
    08/09/17
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    "A real insight in to a criminal mastermind"

    It's extremely well written and level detail is amazing. I want to listen again. :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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