In the World
From the Big House to Hollywood
- 304 Pages
- October 1, 2019
- ISBN: 9781628727296
Smuggler's Blues, the first book in Richard Stratton's memoir of his criminal career, detailed his years as a kingpin in the Hippie Mafia. Kingpin, the second book, traced his eight-year journey through the criminal justice system, through two federal trials and myriad jails and prisons and culminating in his success as a self-taught jailhouse lawyer winning his own release. In this final volume, Stratton recounts his return to civilian life, as a convicted felon who had been forced to confront his demons and an aspiring writer who yearned to make his mark.
From parole to Hollywood to marriage and fatherhood, he found his way in the free world. Working in the New York office of a criminal defense attorney, he somehow adhered to the stringent conditions of his release not to associate with other felons. When his prison novel Smack Goddess was published, his mentor Norman Mailer entered his life again. Going to Hollywood to consult on a documentary, he became a writer and producer, and his feature film Slam won major awards at Sundance and Cannes. In the World includes profiles of celebrities such as Mailer, Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, and others.
"Smuggler's Blues is an adrenaline rush, a high-stakes ride from Maine to Lebanon to the Caribbean. . . . This book will get under your skin, enter your blood stream, and mess with your head."T. J. English, New York Times, best-selling author of The Savage City and Havana Nocturne
"Many of the tales of his real-life adventures in search of a massive high and the ultimate payday are absorbing in the same zany way as his fiction . . . [f]eaturing encounters with the late David Bowie and Norman Mailer, plus Mick Jagger and convicted murderer and mob boss Whitey Bulger."Publishers Weekly
"A wild, entertaining ride . . . A compulsively interesting story with the requisite drama and suspense that will keep the pages turning. . . . Stratton and his crew pulled off a surprising number of impressive smuggles while Wolfshein tried to pin them down, and Stratton throws in a lot of extra color by way of lavish spending, sex, and glittering parties that make heads spin. Near misses abound and offer great fun for readers."Kirkus
Praise for Kingpin
"Stratton’s latest book . . . details his treacherous trip through the federal prison system with an unfiltered voice and a knack for finding humor in the most desolate of spaces."New York Post
"Richard Stratton's powerful memoir Kingpin is a sharp reminder that 'Orange' in not the 'New Black.' There is nothing romantic or exotic about a trip through the criminal justice system and federal prison. Stratton's page-turning account takes us through the mendacity of the criminal justice system, with its relentless drive to turn him into an informer, and into the arbitrary and casual brutality of prison life. Spoiler alert: Stratton refused to snitch and emerged with his principles intact. But he paid a heavy price for fighting the war on drugs."Ronald L. Kuby, Civil Rights and criminal defense attorney
"Stratton's portrait of prison life is unsparing . . . This prison memoir stands out due to Stratton's elite criminal status and also the quality of his writing, which tends to be observant, mordant, and sometimes hilariously vulgar. A pulpy, well-crafted recollection of time behind bars packed with unsettling questions about society's embrace of mass imprisonment and the drug war."Kirkus