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Original Gangster: The Real Life Story of One of America's Most Notorious Drug Lords

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A suspenseful memoir from the real life American gangster, Frank Lucas

In his own words, Frank Lucas recounts his life as the former heroin dealer and organized crime boss who ran Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. From being taken under the wing of old time gangster Bumpy Johnson, through one of the most successful drug smuggling operations, to being sent
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2009)
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Headlines And
Nov 13, 2014 Headlines And rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” and its mythical Blue Sky meth, you might want to pull up a chair and dive into the story of real life drug lord Frank Lucas and his legendary Blue Magic heroin. It’s all within the pages of “Original Gangster: The Real Life Story of One of America’s Most Notorious Drug Lords” ($6.00) by Lucas himself, and Aliya S. King. The basis of the 2007 movie “American Gangster,” Lucas’ memoirs start in 1936 with his childhood in North Carolina, where he witnessed his own ...more
Kurt
Nov 17, 2011 Kurt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Started this as a book-on-CD for a roadie, but finished the trip before I finished the story and I just can't bring myself to finish it in print: crappy writing and WAY too much self-justification and humble-bragging, which is fine, so long as it's not paired with regret and mock humiliation.
Lara
Oct 12, 2012 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book entertaining, and educational. (About some history of drug crime in NYC, 1970s) Also listened to it on audiobook, I believe it's read by the author. The voice really adds to the character of the story, which I appreciated. I think it was a good read
Jamie Whitehead
Mar 09, 2014 Jamie Whitehead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite all the terrible things he did in his life, you have to appreciate how he had the determination to achieve anything based on where he came from.
Winter Sophia Rose
Eye Opener & Brilliant! Powerful Book!
Dave
Sep 15, 2010 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved 'American Gangster' starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and after hearing a radio interview with Frank Lucas, I became interested in the "real story."

Well, the film played it close to the vest for the most part. Of course, this being Lucas's autobio, it doesn't talk much about Richie Roberts' side of the story, but I'm sure he'll write his own book someday too (he's still working a criminal defense attorney to this day).

This book fills in some of the missing pieces in Lucas' bac
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Robert
Nov 10, 2014 Robert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The crux of the problem I had with this book is that Lucas doesn't seem at all contrite. He starts out by framing why and how he got to be the biggest and baddest. Many people could benefit from doing more acting and having less fear, and in that respect Lucas does become a model. I do not blame him.

Notwithstanding, trying to draw a distinction between himself and Nicky Barnes as that of an entrepreneur versus just a drug dealer is pathetic. Stealing seed money and pushing drugs with the resulti
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Janeil Cabrera
Feb 23, 2016 Janeil Cabrera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Real life notorious drug lord, Frank Lucas tells his own story in a great amount of detail. From a one-room shack in North Carolina to the mean streets of Harlem in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He constantly moves up the latter to becoming the most powerful drug lord of his time. He fights with the Italian mafia to gain gain control. Then importing the purest of heroin into the states in such a unique way. His "Blue Magic" was constantly craved, making him $1 million per day. Grabbing the att ...more
Kelly
Aug 09, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gangsters
It was a good book, kept my full attention throughout. I enjoyed that the story took us all the way from childhood to present, which really helps to shape more emotions than would have been triggered without all the background. When I literally want to slap him, like a mother with a child that needs to wake up and get their shit together, I feel like the book has done a good job bringing me in. I love a good gangster story, so I am probably going easy on the review of this book... but I dug it r ...more
David Ward
Dec 21, 2010 David Ward rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: na
Shelves: non-fiction, drugs
Original Gangster: The Real Life Story of One of America’s Most Notorious Drug Lords by Frank Lucas, Aliya S. King (St. Martin’s Press 2010) (364.1). Frank Lucas confirms in this book that his original pipeline for shipping heroin into the US from Southeast Asia was by stuffing the drug into the coffins of dead GIs coming back to the US from Viet Nam. That, my friends, is sick. My rating: 3/10, finished 2011.
Bronwen
Oct 12, 2010 Bronwen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If the identity of every pivotal character in your life's story needs to be hidden then maybe your story isn't ready to be told yet. No matter how badly you need the money.

I have to say, though, that I really enjoyed the first few chapters of the book in which Lucas describes the events in his childhood that led to him moving to Harlem and his early crimes.
john lennon
Jun 13, 2016 john lennon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read . Buy it. A bit slow to start but once it starts its like a rollercoaster ride.

Good read . Buy it. A bit slow to start but once it starts its like a rollercoaster ride. Enjoy.
Vee
This book was definitely a good read but some of the celebrity anecdotes were kind of unnecessary. In many ways his tale is typical of former kingpin drug dealer feeling remorse for his past actions.
Sam B
Jan 02, 2016 Sam B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raw honesty. Lucas never tries to hide the sordid details of his life in this memoir - and that's what makes it so compelling and interesting. Absolutely fascinating look at a life that tragically played a large part in American society for years. Great, fast, read.
Ken
It was a fast read. I think Frank's claims for the actual money he earned seem a bit inflated. He says he is sorry for all the pain he has caused, but I doubt very much his sincerity.
Michelle Sawyer
Feb 04, 2016 Michelle Sawyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining! Interesting story around heroin empire in Harlem in the 70s.
Lisa
Oct 28, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i didnt finish it all the way
Lena
Jan 05, 2015 Lena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great read.
Shandra
Jul 23, 2010 Shandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in reading about Gangsters
This was a fast read. There were some typos but other than that a very good bio.
Paul Brandel
Dec 16, 2010 Paul Brandel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book kept me entertained from start to finish.Frank Lucas was a bad mother,shut your mouth,drug
lord.If you want to read an exciting true crime story,read this book.

Ryan
Nov 04, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The movie is better...
Meaghan
Apr 23, 2012 Meaghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is addicting! A true story about the life of a gangster starting at the beginning of his life.Could not put down. A must read.
Debi
Debi rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2012
Eunice Hill
Eunice Hill rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2016
Janice Kreson
Janice Kreson rated it liked it
Sep 30, 2016
Maya B
Maya B rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2014
mark simon costa
mark simon costa rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2015
Gayle
Gayle rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2013
Nikki Williams
Nikki Williams rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2017
Ann Williams
Ann Williams rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2015
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“You leave that life out there,” he said, motioning to the street. “You cross the threshold of your home and that’s it. Don’t bring any of that into your home. Ever.” 1 likes
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