cover image The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana

The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana

Tony Dokoupil. Doubleday, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-53346-1

NBC News senior writer Dokoupil offers a gripping examination of his longtime marijuana-dealing father, as well as a researched look at the evolution of American narcotics laws. In the early 1970s, Dokoupil’s father, also named Tony, dropped out of graduate school to deal marijuana. The charismatic “Old Man” was quickly able to make the necessary connections and, with support from a woman he married, rose to a position of power on the East Coast drug circuit, eventually setting up base in Miami. According to Dokoupil, who grew up in 1980s Miami, his father’s constant need for excitement and hedonistic tendencies coupled with an ever-changing drug market led to his eventual downfall. Drug and prostitute binges, risky schemes to smuggle drugs across borders, shady associates, and the frequent mistreatment of his family (including throwing a knife at his wife and leaving his four-year-old son alone at a hotel at Disneyworld) eventually led to the family falling apart and Tony’s incarceration in 1992. Dokoupil’s sharp eye for detail makes for a lively and often moving narrative full of cinematic scenes and snappy dialogue. Dokoupil draws on his experience as a reporter to deliver an unflinching and detailed look at a criminal family’s life. (Apr.)