American Kingpin - Nick Bilton

American Kingpin

By Nick Bilton

  • Release Date: 2017-05-02
  • Genre: True Crime
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 770 Ratings)


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it
In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything—drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons—free of the government’s watchful eye.
It wasn’t long before the media got wind of the new Web site where anyone—not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers—could buy and sell contraband detection-free. Spurred by a public outcry, the federal government launched an epic two-year manhunt for the site’s elusive proprietor, with no leads, no witnesses, and no clear jurisdiction. All the investigators knew was that whoever was running the site called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts.
The Silk Road quickly ballooned into $1.2 billion enterprise, and Ross embraced his new role as kingpin. He enlisted a loyal crew of allies in high and low places, all as addicted to the danger and thrill of running an illegal marketplace as their customers were to the heroin they sold. Through his network he got wind of the target on his back and took drastic steps to protect himself—including ordering a hit on a former employee. As Ross made plans to disappear forever, the Feds raced against the clock to catch a man they weren’t sure even existed, searching for a needle in the haystack of the global Internet.

Drawing on exclusive access to key players and two billion digital words and images Ross left behind, Vanity Fair correspondent and New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton offers a tale filled with twists and turns, lucky breaks and unbelievable close calls. It’s a story of the boy next door’s ambition gone criminal, spurred on by the clash between the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralized Web advocates and the old world of government control, order, and the rule of law. Filled with unforgettable characters and capped by an astonishing climax, American Kingpin might be dismissed as too outrageous for fiction. But it’s all too real.


  • Wrong Impression

    By hotc0ck007
    I thought this book was about bowling.
  • Excellent Read

    By Jimbo The Eagan
    I was truly fascinated with a world I knew nothing about. The fascinating details of a modern day pirate made this book a terrific read.
  • Pretty fascinating

    By noxid56
    A great telling of nonfiction that reads like fictional suspense. Well crafted, and a pretty incredible bit of history to take in. Great read.
  • Amazing

    By aa ron 33
    Couldn’t put this book down! Amazingly well written.
  • Super lame

    By keppin_it_real_w_u
    All fluff. Hollywooded fiction. Don’t waste ur time
  • Well written and mostly unbiased

    By CollegeTry
    It’s very thorough and moves through the story at a fair pace. I say mostly unbiased because it has a few seemingly self-righteous opinions.
  • American Kingpin

    By Patrick Beau
    One of the best books I’ve ever read period! Two weeks after I read it the first time re-read the second time and it was even better! Patrick Beau
  • Excellent!!

    By Yankees5825
    This book was excellent from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down, it was well written and very interesting. It was full of suspense, especially the end of the book it was heart pounding.
  • Must read

    By productionking
    One of the few books I couldn’t put down. Intrigue, suspense and beautiful story telling.
  • Thanks

    By wewwwwaat
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