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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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gripping and gritty real-life crime

Very well presented, with multiple actors voicing the protagonist and other supporting players. The format is mostly in the first person as a memoir, with the occasional authors note and press 'clippings' interspersed.

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  • peter
  • sunshine coast, Australia
  • 10-04-13

Top Notch

Where does American Desperado rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

good

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was just in amazement at how it all worked

Any additional comments?

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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  • Rhys
  • 04-13-15

Great listen

Was a great story which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

Was broadly three parts, growing up the son of someone high up in the Mafia, being a soldier in Vietnam and finally his life as a smuggler.

All were told from a different angle which made the story more interesting, for example the war veteran was not from the "look at me I'm such a macho hero", but actually told of how the U.S. Government depended on people like him who would do "dark" things to the enemy, even though as he puts it they went too far on a number of occasions.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin101
  • 12-12-14

I was captivated after the first line!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this audiobook to a friend. It was incredibly fast paced and extremely interesting. Jon Roberts was also very fun and this comes out quite a lot throughout the book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of American Desperado?

When Jon was serving as a soldier in Vietnam.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

They help make the book more three dimensional. I've never listened to an audiobook with so many narrators before and it really worked well. It helped define the different characters when at points, it would have been quite easy to get them mixed up. It also made it seem like each different character was expressing their own view point on the story.

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for your next 'fix', this is definitely it. I was thoroughly gutted when it finished.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gingerdave78
  • 04-15-14

Ace

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, fantastic story! Shows the continued corruption of the american government from foreign to domestic wars, political party funding, law enforcement, contradicting US justice and Drugs.

What was one of the most memorable moments of American Desperado?

Vietnam tour........ really? Airborne advanced recon death squads? I could imagine the SOC or Green berets doing it, but not joe blogs recon infantry. Hard to believe without the press who combed the countryside for stories like this during the campaign! I'm sure the VC would of loved to take a reporter to a mutilated VC or civilian body.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No it is long but interesting all the way through! `

Any additional comments?

I have a feeling of an inflated opinion of himself or more of his emotions, all the way through the book..... but with the other opinions of friends and family throughout, put a sometimes contradicting view of events into to the memory's of emotions and events. Which shows to never show weakness when dealing with cartels and hitmen, but also playing the crowd!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michal
  • 12-01-16

TOP READ

This is a great book, can't recommend it highly enough, at 16 hours and 40 minutes it wasn't long enough for me and I was gutted it finished. I have watched the documentary "cocaine cowboys" that features this books main subject Jon Roberts as well as others mentioned in the book, so I knew a little of the story but this just showed me what an amazing life this guy led. Dark and violent in parts it also has a large amount of dark humour which made me laugh out loud, A number of narrators are used to read the book all of which were easy to listen to and brought the different characters to life especially the main narrator who as Jon Roberts was excellent.This is by far one of the best books in its genre that audible stock. Haven't really got a bad word to say about this title. Give it a try you won't be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • gambling_man
  • 09-01-16

Don't miss this!

Superb, gritty, seedy, absolutely great. well worth a listen absolutely gripping storyline. loved the book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. C. Elson
  • 08-20-16

The real deal, terrifyingly matter of fact.

Sometimes truth is more interesting than fiction, like a car crash, compelling fascinating, sometimes terrifying. Told in a an undramatic way, it smacks of truth, he's not trying to impress you, he probably doesn't care what you think of him. He doesn't pretend to be a nice guy, he led an incredible life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob Whittall
  • 05-19-16

Very interesting from start to finish.

Yeah very much enjoyed this book. the details of the author were splendid and I felt like I was there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-13-15

Fascinating all the way through

Great story, great narration. Massively enjoyed all of it. Comic, tragic, horrific, informative. Am now listening to more in the same sort of genre - high octane autobiographies.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 08-30-15

Outstanding

Was pleasantly surprised with this book.
Had not heard of it before and took a chance buying it but couldn't put it down. Highly recommend!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. G. Laing
  • 03-23-14

Excellent book and we'll read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book does no gloss up crime as some good old criminal who's misunderstood and really a good bloke at heart. A true life and sometimes shocking story of what it must be like being a real gangster not a movie gangster

What did you like best about this story?

Jons character and honesty

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Jon

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew Worrall
  • 10-11-15

really good book but a little gruesome in parts

Really interesting book to listen to. It moves effortlessly through the very different stages of his life, with just the right level of detail to keep you coming back to hear what's next. Strangely likeable character due to his frankness, almost remorse and occasional humorous comment.Yet equally easy to dislike due to his extremely violent, inhumane approach to managing any given problem. I definitely recommend listening to this book but note it's probably not for the squeamish or faint of heart... This book would make a great movie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick
  • 06-03-17

loved it

all the ways they evaded the FBI are really interesting and you get a really good insight into how evil this guy really was some of the stories are pretty brutal but all in all this was a pretty damn good book it will have you interested right to the end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 03-28-17

Awesome!! <br />

Couldn't turn it off, an absolute brutal but amazing story. I didn't want it to end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 04-07-16

A MUST READ

hands down the best audio book ive listened to, un-believable story! narrators do a fantastic job. a must read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick
  • 12-14-15

Very engaging and interesting

A fantastic book which kept me coming back from start to finish. Tracking the numerous and varied periods in his life from Mafia to Cocaine Cowboy and the amazing people he met along the way. The different readers also help to keep things exciting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jonathon
  • 12-25-14

Fantastic!

Very entertaining right throughout, could not put the earphones out. finished this one much quicker than I usually do!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter levy
  • 09-10-18

Very Upsetting

Its a story about a person and people that don't belong in society They are sickos. I can tolerate a lot but this guy is evil personified.
I actually returned the book, it was so upsetting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-18

absolute cracker of a book

My favourite true crime story to date. I hoped it would last even longer. What a journey!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-18

great book

the narrative was on point, the story was sensational, there was so much detail, highly recommend

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MR
  • 12-26-17

Solid

Gives an excellent understanding of the process by which someone like this can form, and a brutal insight into the blatant corruption the world is filled with. Justice for all, bar the rich.