• American Kingpin

  • The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road Drugs Empire
  • By: Nick Bilton
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 06-22-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
  • 4.9 (36 ratings)

Regular price: $24.78

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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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Adnan Maddix on 10-15-17

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

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By Mark Horwell on 09-08-17

A real insight in to a criminal mastermind

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S. Bramble on 12-23-17

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.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful


By A. Smythe on 12-13-17

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.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Agnes thompson on 02-16-18

great read

Couldn't put this one down. I hope there's more like this to come. Well written and we'll performed.

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By zico on 11-13-17

Six Star Performance for a Fascinating Story

This was an unbelievably good listen. Not only was American Kingpin hard to stop once you started it raised such a lot of thought provoking questions that i had to do some more research into Ross Ulbrecht and the Silk Road after i finished the book. It raises a lot of interesting questions into the issues surrounding decriminalisation of the drug trade, the use and abuse of technology and how a ideological viewpoint i.e. libertarian politics can turn a "good person" over to the dark side of drug trafficking. Nick Bilton writes this book in such an engaging style that it is totally enthralling for the listener. My best read of the year to date.

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