American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

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.

Title:American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781591848141
Format Type:

About Nick Bilton

Nick Bilton is a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair, where he writes about technology, politics, business and culture. He is also a contributor to CNBC, and a former columnist and reporter for The New York Times.


    American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road Reviews

  • Ryan Shaw

    I don't have the energy or will to write an actual review but I will say this: I started the book and then I finished the book. There may have been a bathroom break in there but this book had me from ...

  • Olivier Schreiber

    Ross's mother wrote the following:A book called American Kingpin by Nick Bilton claims to be the “unbelievable true story” of my son, Ross Ulbricht. After reading an online adaptation, I agree: It...

  • Andrew Smith

    Ross Ulbricht, born in Texas in 1984, is a libertarian and one of his staple beliefs is that people should be able to put into their bodies whatever they wish, including any type of drug they choose. ...

  • Ammar

    This book that reads like a thriller is pure joy and information. The author did a great job creating all the events based on primary documents and interviews with the people who took down The Silk Ro...

  • Dino-Jess ? The Book Eating Dinosaur ?

    I have a confession to make.....I had never heard of the black market website Silk Road until sometime last year. When an interpretation of the site was featured on Mr Robot's second season, my friend...

  • Jason Pettus

    DECLINED TO REVIEW. Generally speaking, it's a pretty typical phenomenon that when we get interested in a nonfiction book because of the subject it's covering, most of us are willing to put up with pr...

  • Hossein

    واقعا نمیدونم چی بگم.فقط میتونم این شخصیت رو تحسین کنم.کار ندارم که استعدادش رو در راه غیر قانونی خرج کرده در ه...

  • Virginia

    A thrilling tale of the modern crime world that is so insane you couldn't make any of it up! Following the steps of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind The Silk Road, and the law enforcement agents ...

  • SAM

    "The Silk Road, after all, was just the platform - no different from Facebook or Twitter or Ebay - on which users communicated and exchanged ideas and currency. So who was DPR to err on the side of ...

  • Jess

    It reads like it was written by a 16 year old who had to come up with something quickly for their English homework. So cliche and plays into so many stereotypes! I really wanted to get on with this bo...