American Kingpin - Nick Bilton

American Kingpin

By Nick Bilton

  • Release Date: 2017-05-02
  • Genre: True Crime
Score: 4.5
From 212 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.


  • American Kingpin.

    By NP@ work
    Loved it. Well written and kept me fascinated. Amazing that it is a true story.
  • Incredible

    By Anonymouse9
    If you’re even remotely interested in the story behind the Silk Road this is an amazing read, I was on the edge of my seat towards the end on how it all played out and it was beautifully written by this author definitely recommended. I learned a lot I didn’t know about the case and the backstory as well that I didn’t read about in the news when it broke, if you like this book there’s a similar book with a similar title by Kevin Poulsen called “Kingpin” which is a similar writing style and it’s thrilling as well.
  • A Must Read!

    By cinserrajr
    A riveting story that I simply could not step away from, this book contains not just a recount of the life of the man behind the Silk Road, but rather an in-depth look at how he became an “American Kingpin” while still trying to maintain a semblance of his life as Ross Ulbricht. A ruthless drug lord, or an idealist and libertarian mastermind? You decide.
  • Fantastic book

    By Marsh1235345
    Must read.
  • Outstanding

    By holderad
    This is just a fantastic book. It is well written, easy to read, and has plenty of detail into the inner-workings of the most notorious crime lord of generation X. It is also serves as a warning into the human mind about how an Eagle Scout can be transformed into a ruthless crime lord. So many factors, so many turns, so many chances to just stop and disappear. I do feel pity for a brilliant mind that failed to take his business model to a logical conclusion, but at the same time, justice was served. As that failure has wrought untold harm to untold lives and society as a whole. Evolution will ensure humanity survives and moves forward, not because of man, but in spite of him.
  • Great Book

    By Ricanella29
    This book is no doubt one of my favorites ever. Couldn't put it down!
  • Xz

    By sanbjnb
    You are going out to sz Brian yumbuta
  • Great book if you want to learn more about life.

    By Al_owais123
    This is a book not about the dark web or Silk Road. It's about human life and how one person can change million of people life's. I could not let this book " IPhone " down. It keeps pulling you deeper and deeper in. A must read.