Summary of American Kingpin

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8 Overall

8 Importance

7 Innovation

9 Style


Nick Bilton’s account of the rise and fall of the drug-dealing Silk Road website is an engrossing true-crime techno-thriller. After finishing college, Ross Ulbricht returned to his Texas hometown and, working mostly alone on a laptop and teaching himself programming as he went along, he built an anonymous online marketplace for drugs and other contraband. Over the next three years, he restyled himself as the Dread Pirate Roberts, scooped up millions in profits, began ordering hits on his enemies and inspired a massive manhunt involving four US federal agencies. You’ll meet a cast right out of a screenwriter’s dreams: noble crime-fighters, dirty cops, a sleuthing IRS agent and villains who range from the chillingly efficient to the comically inept. The inscrutable figure of the Dread Pirate Roberts is at the center – a man capable of altruistically clearing litter from a park one day and sanctioning the sale of cyanide and human organs the next. getAbstract recommends this saga to cyber-security specialists, drug-policy officials, those interested in drug policy and people who relish ripped-from-the-headlines nonfiction.

In this book, you will learn

  • How Ross Ulbricht created the Silk Road, an online “Amazon of drugs,”
  • How Ulbricht used technology to preserve its participants’ anonymity, and
  • How law-enforcement agencies collaborated to arrest Ulbricht and shut down the Silk Road.

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