I was impressed by the Cocaine Cowboys documentary, and Jon Roberts on screen.
Here we find the basic grandiose 1950s-60s male American teen-to-young-adult personality: plenty of drugs, a very movie-influenced imagination, all outrageous stunts and stories. It always centers on the one guy and always is beyond reality, more violent and risky, more famous people there, right in the crux of every big event. Most of these guys got a little humility or just burned out and disappeared; some are still here to drone on over dinner about this or that big prank. A lot grew out of the G.I. men's culture going back to WW2. But this guy still has to be the star of every show in history in his own mind. (Or at least, a clever salesman of books now, with a keen sense of what the "true crime genre" buyer wants to hear.) Yeah, some of it is doubtless true, some "larger than life" (in a very scumbag way). But hey, he was everywhere and met everyone? He was a jungle warrior in 'Nam, diving out of planes into the jungles, but there's no record of Jon's military service? Faced off with John Gotti with gangs of guys in Gotti's basement (how did his army get into Gotti's basement past Gotti's guards yet all carrying guns? I get all these big question marks. Dosed Ed Sullivan with acid, tracked down Sullivan's physician, intimidated the physician and effectively blackmailed Sullivan to shut up?
There is a difference between movies and reality; the actors survive these incredible scenes because it is according to a script. The enemies are playing along, the effects people carefully set up the stunts and use pro stunt personnel. There are many takes to get it perfect. Physicians and insurance companies stand by. It is in my opinion astronomically improbable that a real guy could squeak through all these daily death-defying events (straight out of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, far surpassing any Scorsese movie) and survive. Five times, ten times, two dozen times, OK, but hundreds of times? This is like the peak moments of continuous movies end-to-end. Always as colorful and dramatic as a movie? At is as if the guy is still hanging around a nightclub, BS'ing the impressionable. That is his schtick. Dude, even the 80s was decades ago. (Yawn.)
However, If a tenth of this is true, it is an amazing story, of a real sadistic creep. (In cleverer moments, he sees himself as a reflective of the society's dark side; hired to be what he was, in effect, by people who wanted to keep their hands clean but brush up against his danger; shades of Mike Tyson.) But its all hyped to the point of exhaustion. One way or another, Jon Roberts sold a cinematic sort of drama to the dumb money of this world, and made out pretty well. Is he still doing that here?
So interesting, the story could go on forever!! The only thing that could be better is the narrator...... I heard Jon Roberts speak during "Cocaine Cowboys", his voice would of been perfect to tell his own story.
This is by no means a changed man! He only became a secret assets to cover his butt. From the beginning he's still a cold hearted, unkind, vicious dog toting monster. I didn't even want to waste my time listening to the rest of this book! You can tell from the outset and the beginning of the interview process for the book, there are no redeeming qualities in this man, none! The people who rate it so highly are those who want to hear all the gory details of a life of murder and crime.
Wow, the stuff that was going on when i was in high school and college. The women, the money, the incredible crazy... Have to say, it made me a little jealous, made me consider the choices i made, the times in my own life that this other plane of existence, consciousness, invited me to come on board and whether i regret taking the safe path.
Mechanically well done: sources cited when important; clear and easy to follow timeline, skillfully identified characters without a 'jumble' of names and dates. Very enjoyable entertainment, interesting history, and something to think about!
I gave up on this book after the first few hours, it's pure BS. Nothing can be verified, the stories are nonsense, this guy is full of it. I'm writing Audible to request a refund. Unless you want to read a piece of fiction or you're just gullible, avoid this piece of trash.
I rank it very high but it is difficult to specify. It is definitly more intriguing and exciting than most crime novels I have read - and this is for real! So if you like that kind of books, this is an excellent choice.
I don't have a specific book to compare to. I would compare it to the crime stories most of us read but this is an unusually interesting and fascinating one - that happens to be true!
Yes! And I almost did... Not quite true, but it took only a few very long sessions.
This is one of the few books i've listened to that i'd give another go round. John roberts is a fascinating character. Sociopath, maybe. Evil, probably, however that is certainly hard to feel after getting to know the man, and get to know him you do in this open and insightful biography. Not many bios tell as much as John does, and he does so in such a mater of fact way, regardless of how frightful the scene may be.
The Godfather, however John R is some piece of work. I knew people like him then, for those who survived, they are "the old days" when you could get away with almost anything if you had ½ a brain. He is no Don corleone, Sonny, maybe…
but he ran a show, and people respected him, even if he had a thing for "those" kind of women...
the accent, most of the time, you think its John reading it himself.
Don't hate john, I've read several reviews of the book urging people not to buy it, not to support a criminal, but there's so much more here…John is a flawed human, with a conscience…a survivor, and survive he did! made millions on illegal things, yet was recognised by people close to presidents and other sorta respectable folks. Was respected by Myer Lansky. and in the end, well, after you listen to the book, and catch your breath, google him…there's more to the end of the story than in the listen.
With Lotsa Love from gaz regn
This book give a look inside the head of someone who is pretty much a sociopath, and yet it's not hard to relate to him. His ingenuity as a gangster is amazing--transporting drugs in a car on the back of a tow-truck, for instance. And if you like the book, see this guy in person in a movie called Cocaine Cowboys (available on instant netflix)