American Kingpin

American Kingpin : Catching the Billion-Dollar Baron of the Dark Web

4.3 (3,822 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From New York Times-bestselling 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 hit men 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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 156 x 240 x 32mm | 752g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753548577
  • 9780753548578
  • 422,696

Review quote

"You'll never forget Bilton's portrait of the brilliant and brazen Ross Ulbricht, even after you sacrifice sleep in a sprint to the final pages and to see justice served." BRAD STONE, author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts "Nick Bilton has issued a fantastic modern true-crime thriller. The book moves at a stunning pace while packed full of exquisite reporting and detail. It delivers a vivid pic-ture of what happens when genius, ambition, and depravity collide, as well as a study on the complex interplay between good and evil." ASHLEE VANCE, author of Elon Musk "Engrossing, addictive, suspenseful, riveting-this book hooked me on page one and I could not put it down. American Kingpin is the best thing I've read in ages. I can't recommend it highly enough." DAN LYONS, author of Disrupted "I dare you not to read this book in one sitting. Masterfully reported and written, Bilton's book drops you hard into the dark heart of the most famous Internet crime to date. A first-rate thrill." JOSHUA COOPER RAMO, author of The Seventh Sense "In American Kingpin, Nick Bilton again proves why he's one of tech's best storytellers with a stunningly researched and very scary portrait of the creator of a marketplace gone mad, and the oddly uncoordinated officers who took him down." STEVEN LEVY, author of Hackers and In the Plexshow more

About Nick Bilton

British born Nick Bilton is Special Correspondent at Vanity Fair, where he writes about technology, business and culture, and a contributor at CNBC. He was a columnist for The New York Times for almost a decade. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son, and dog, Pixel.show more

Review Text

"Engrossing, addictive, suspenseful, riveting—this book hooked me on page one and I could not put it down. American Kingpin is the best thing I’ve read in ages. I can’t recommend it highly enough."show more

Rating details

3,822 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 53% (2,027)
4 32% (1,231)
3 9% (354)
2 3% (110)
1 3% (100)
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