Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang
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Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,111 ratings  ·  252 reviews
In 1998, William Queen was a veteran law enforcement agent with a lifelong love of motorcycles and a lack of patience with paperwork. When a “confidential informant” made contact with his boss at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, offering to take an agent inside the San Fernando chapter of the Mongols (the scourge of Southern California, and one of the most dang...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Fawcett (first published 2005)
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Kirsti
Aug 02, 2008 Kirsti rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime buffs
"Shooting pool is a mainstay of the biker lifestyle. So is getting shitfaced on Jack Daniels and being an asshole, but I decided to try pool first."

Memoir by a federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent who spent two years undercover in the Mongols, a motorcycle gang less famous than (but probably even more deadly than) the Hells Angels.

I figured that anybody who joined a biker gang would feel contempt for rules of any kind. Then I read this book and found out that the Mongols, a motorcycle ga...more
Dayna
This is such a amazing story that it completely didn't matter that the actual writing was terrible. This undercover cop (who became a patched-in member of the biker Mongol gang) has more than a book-full of interesting and dangerous stories to tell about his 2-year undercover assignment.

The author is not the articulate type and even admitted in his book that he hates writing. I'm sure there was a ghost writer or a zealous editor who put a lot of work into turning the author's raw notes into thi...more
Brett Tompkins
I enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as Dobyns No Angel I don't know if it's because I read Dobyns book first or what; I can't quite put my finger on it. It was still a very good story, and Queen's undercover work paid a lot more dividends than Dobyns in terms of convictions and the number of bad guys that went to prison. This story was similar to Dobyns story in the way that they both started sympathizing with their suspects, and really started feeling like family with them. I thought it...more
Tony Evans
This was a very interesting book. You really get to understand the emotions he was feeling as he was navigating his way through the undercover role. For example: At one point his mother dies and he has to leave his undercover work for some time. He tells the biker gang that his mother just died and he will be gone for a few days. When he gets back none of the ATF agents ask him about his mother or tell him that they are sorry to hear about it. But when he goes back into his undercover role every...more
Carly
**edited 12/20/13

Before I read this, I admit I never really thought about motorcycle gangs. Had I considered them, I think I would have associated them more with empty boasts and petty crime rather than "domestic terror" and serious felonies. I found this on audio at my library, and, as an inveterate hardboiled and police procedural reader, thought it would be interesting to hear the perspectives of an ATF undercover agent who had spent time living as one of these apparently fearsome outlaws. Ac...more
Peter Derk
So this dude basically goes undercover to bust some bad bad folks in a motorcycle club. But then he ends up getting a little deeper in than he really planned.

It's a quick read, and if you know nothing about motorcycle clubs, it's not a bad place to start. You'll end up learning a lot about this subculture that is still running strong today, and in Colorado no less. That's the good stuff.

The bad stuff is that the book tends towards the real-crime genre in that it tries to horrify you with the dif...more
Dachokie
Talk about Courage ..., July 3, 2008

As with most books I've read, there is always something I see or hear that piques my interest in a topic/subject matter creating a domino effect that leads to obsessive reading. This seems to be the case here: "Gimme Shelter" led to Sonny Barger's "Hell's Angel" which led to the "Gangland" television series and then to searching Amazon.com for books about outlaw biker clubs, starting with "Under and Alone".

The first chapter of this book was such an effective...more
Shivesh
Mar 17, 2009 Shivesh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: bikers, thugs, mongols
Shelves: criminal
Of all the criminal elements in this world, biker gangs are possibly the quintessential American product. In other countries you have urban gangs, the mafia, government goons, weapon runners and drug smugglers. But at the heart of those enterprises is the desire for money and power. Traditional gangsters engaged in gangster shit as a job, a way to earn some scratch. However, every organized crime group had a guy who would be variously known as 'Crazy Joe Spinolli', or 'Loco Lopez' - a hardcore i...more
Simon Cleveland
Besides keeping you interested until the end, this book does one other thing - it teaches you bravery. I know you know what bravery is, but do you know what bravery is?

In this day and age when a word like that can only make sense when associated with far away lands of Arabic speaking people, deserts and terrorist actions, this book will bring you back to American soil, to the cities we live in, to the streets we walk on, the roads we drive on, our own back yard. Bravery exists here and is made...more
Kit Fox
Amazing first eye glimpse into the daily workings of one the nastiest biker gangs to ever emerge from the flames of hell. These desperadoes aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, but they're certainly the most dangerous. I liked how the copy I checked out of the library had portions where the author explains certain ingenious acts of criminality underlined. Like, did you know that if you remove a car's air filter, you've just created a perfect spot to stash a handgun or two? Well, now you do, an...more
Ru
A very "truth can be stranger than fiction", real-life account of Federal Agent William Queen's deep-undercover life with the Mongols Motorcycle Club. To say that the Mongols have a storied, crime-ridden history would be an understatement; if you can think of it, they've probably done it. Their most modern incarnation may be clean now - I'm not sure (and it's not really relevant) - but the events Queen recounts during his time with them are troubling, to say the least.

Life in and among a "one-pe...more
Tinika
Under and Alone is non-fiction that reads like fiction. It gives some background on outlaw motorcycle gangs but it is mainly a memoir. For over two years, ATF agent William Queen went undercover to infiltrate the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, walking a tightrope between staying within the law and passing all the tests the bikers required of him. He was phenomenally successful, not just becoming a full-patch member but an officer in the club. Many times, his life was...more
Brian
i zipped right through this. i like true stories, i like motorcycles, i dont like informants. i guess i dont really like biker gangs either, but as a dream lifestyle it would be alluring.

my favorite part was when his mom died and none of the ATF folks consoled him or gave a shit about it, but all of the bikers hugged him and told him that they loved him. and then he had a conundrum on his hands.

Gabriel Zeck
Fascinating portrait of a criminal subculture. Mr. Queen treats his subjects evenhandedly, given his law enforcement background. The story is gripping. The author does a fantastic job highlighting the perils of his position and the circumstances he often found himself in.

I would recommend this book to anyone with even a passive interest in criminology, subcultures and law enforcement. Thumbs up!
Chad
Well written account of an ATF agent infiltrating the Mongols motorcycle gang and his 2.5 years undercover with the gang. You really feel how an undercover agent can become torn, in one respect he is doing a job, in another respect he becomes friends with all these guys, plus some heart-rending scenes where the author becomes detached from his family with unintended consequences. Recommended
R.M. Gilmore
Not usually what I would choose to read but I LOVED it!! I knew someone had to survive and write the "based on reality" novel, but I was still on the edge of my seat. I was so scared something horrible would happen! Great read!
Benjamin Rothman
A quick read. It shines an interesting light on some of the inner workings of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG) as criminal organizations. Moreover, it also shows some of the dilemma's involved with being undercover long-term; with the disruption to your normal life and, in particular, the psychological bonding that happens with the people you have to befriend to eventually testify against. Queen covers it pretty well, but that element could have been taken deeper, as could the details of the OM...more
John
Jul 31, 2014 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: paper
Pretty solid read. ATF agent William Queen spent more than 2 years undercover as "Billy St. John" with the Mongols motorcycle gang in California. He worked his way up to "full patch" status, meaning he was a full-fledged member of the gang. He gained their trust, even serving as treasurer for their chapter. Along the way he was exposed to a multitude of criminal activities, and documented them for future prosecution.

Over time, Queen comes to feel bad about his actions, particularly when his aunt...more
Scott
It is amazing that William Queen, who went undercover as Billy St. John, lived to be able to write this book. This ATF officer spent over two years having infiltrated the Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle Club, a gang of ruthless killers who committed all sorts of sex, drug and violent crimes including murder, who would not have hesitated to put a bullet in his head and bury him in the desert where he would never be found if they knew he was a police officer. For two years he had to live with the fact t...more
MentorPublicLibrary
Quick paced book about William Queen, the ATF agent who went undercover for two years to infiltrate the Mongols motorcycle gang. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator had the tough guy sound down well. The stories Queen tells are mesmerizing, and I can't believe the amount of luck this guy had in never having to do drugs or seriously hurt anyone while running with the gang, and avoided ever being exposed as an ATF agent(he did sell drugs and got in his share of fights). It was sad to...more
Kevin
Under and Alone,

I bought this book on a whim, I usually don't read true life crime stories but for one reason or another this subject intrigued me at the time of purchase.

The prose are not exactly great but I wasn't expecting a lyrical or even semi-lyrical novel when considering the source. This book is written well enough but I did find myself questioning the motivation. The means didn't justify the end.

I truly felt the author held back information that could have been incriminating. I honestly...more
Armando Olivas
Normally I do not go for this type of "supermarket check-out" type of book, I read this book for personal research as well as to cater to my interest in the Mongols M.C. especially since the club's mother chapter, along with the events transcribed/written for this book, take place for me locally.
Despite the very dangerous perils and dilemmas described on what the undercover agent had to endure, witness and devise ways out from to avoid contributing to any of the club's criminal activity, I unf...more
Gina
The book opens with Billy St. John in a field with a bunch of drunk and high Mongol brothers with guns ready to shoot anything and everything. Billy is staring down the barrel of the gun of a particularly ruthless Mongol who has had it out for him since day one. Did Red Dog figure out that Billy St. John was a cover name? Was Billy about to face his execution alone with no backup in sight?

William Queen was an undercover agent working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in the late...more
Chana
I knew I wouldn't like what William (Billy) Queen (St. John) was going to do as soon as I started reading. He betrayed people he tricked into trusting him.
So, I had to try to figure out why this bothered me so much.

1. I have lived in Tujunga CA. I owned a house there about 1/2 mile from the intersection of Lowell and Foothill Blvd. I knew the areas he was talking about and didn't feel frightened of any biker activity going on when I lived there. If anything the bikers were polite to the general...more
Bobby Morales
Under & Alone, by William Queen, is an autobiography about William Queen, a retired ATF agent who went undercover & joined the San Fernando division of the Mongols, an infamous outlaw biker gang. The undercover investigation went on for over two years before many of the gang's members are finally apprehended & sent to prison. I chose this book because I saw it sitting around in my dad's car & I thought it looked interesting, so I picked it up & just began reading. My favorite...more
Scott Foshee
The life of an undercover agent is incredibly stressful and dangerous, a thankless job requiring unbelievable personal sacrifice. During his undercover career with the ATF William Queen lost his wife, saw his kids practically grow up without him, lost another girlfriend, and very nearly lost his life on numerous occasions. He lived an isolated life for two years while infiltrating the vicious Mongols motorcycle gang, during which time be bonded with them like family and brothers all the while en...more
brook
No groundbreaking revelations aso to what goes on in 1% clubs, but an enjoyable read. Same vein as Donnie Brasco, but hopefully with less embellishment. As a rider, I will say the one thing I took away from this was an increased dislike, or maybe just lack of respect for, the guys who wear fake "patched"-looking gear so common in the 99% community. You won't have a 3-rocker vest, but you'll have T-shirts, etc that mimic it, loosely enough to get by. They are only mentioned a couple of times in t...more
Rhonda
I read this book after hearing Terry Gross interview the author William Queen on NPR.
It gave me insight into a lifestyle I will never know. I would never wish the fear that Billy experienced on anyone! This is definitely not a shy book.

William paints a very vivid picture of the life of a Mongols Motorcycle gang member. Being a Harley lover with the hardcore looks to match, Billy was handpicked for this particular undercover assignment.

In the beginning of Billy's story, I knew immediately that hi...more
Brendan Booth
this book has a just the facts presentation that does not do a great job of pulling the reader into the mind of an atf agent. the tales told feel disjointed and there is not enough self-analysis to help me feel what he was going through.


many of the stories in this book seem like they are fueled by the author's paranoia - wondering if his true identity has been discovered during a mongol motorcycle club background check or if the ci that introduced him to club members has revealed that he is an u...more
Rob Carnes
Average writing is generous, but I guess if you go undercover with an OMG, risk being killed, you can toot your horn as you like. A better read from the narrative and lit standpoint is "No Angel," by Dobyns. But Dobyns, to be generous is a narcissistic confabulator--Angels running in pack down the LA freeways at 95 mph, 18-inches nose-to-tailwheel. Really?

The problem with this OMG undercover work is it brings in a lot of convictions for small sentences and most of these felons are back on their...more
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