The Last Pirate
A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana
A haunting and often hilarious memoir of growing up in 80s Miami as the son of Big Tony, a flawless model of the great American pot baron.
To his fellow smugglers, Anthony Edward Dokoupil was the Old Man. He ran stateside operations for one of the largest marijuana rings of the twentieth century. In all they sold hundreds of thousands of pounds of marijuana, and Big Tony distributed at least fifty tons of it. To his son he was a rambling man who was also somehow a present father, a self-destructive addict who ruined everything but affection. Here Tony Dokoupil blends superb reportage with searing personal memories, presenting a probing chronicle of pot-smoking, drug-taking America from the perspective of the generation that grew up in the aftermath of the Great Stoned Age.
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Miami, Florida, 1984 Milford, Connecticut, 1970–1975
My father sat in a quiet corner of the bar, holding a gin and tonic in one hand and a lighter in the other. His eyes crossed as he brought the flame to his cigarette, puffed...
"Big Tony's descent is tragic, but his son's quest to understand him will fill you with hope." —People
“Dokoupil mines his father’s memories and his own to produce a funny, beautifully written and sometimes unsettling personal narrative.”—Time
“A meticulously researched history of America's rocky relationship with marijuana.”—The Washington Post
“Fascinating . . . more than just a rollicking, dope-saturated yarn.”—Salon
“One helluva story.” —CBS Sunday Morning
“The rise and fall of a certain kind of outlaw who no longer exists.”—USA Today
“Tony Dokoupil tracked down one of the [Reagan] era's most infamous outlaws: his own father . . . . Get a contact high from the golden age of pot.”—Entertainment Weekly
“The Last Pirate is an astonishing account of a marijuana millionaire’s hedonistic life. . . . Dokoupil’s prose is as artfully vivid as the tale itself and explicit about the sins of the father who abandoned him.”—New York Daily News
“While the author does show how the drug culture has grown up and settled down, his father's story and his own outshine the large-picture history and bring it up-close and personal, with humor, sensitivity and a keen eye for the surprising detail.”—Kirkus
“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.”—Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
“Partly the history of a generation, yet very much a family story…though there are no heroes, readers owe the author thanks for this well-told, ironic, and gripping story.”—Booklist