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Outlaws Inc.: Flying with the World's Most Dangerous Smugglers [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Matt Potter
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Unabridged, 3 Jun 2011 --  

Book Description

3 Jun 2011
In the world's most dangerous and war-torn trouble spots, you will find a small band of men risking their lives to fly the planes that bring in desperately needed aid and supplies. But they're not heroes. These combat-hardened veterans fly giant Soviet-era superplanes which carry a dark secret: 15 tonnes' worth of secret compartments which they fill with illicit payloads. Their hidden cargo is virtually impossible to detect, and these cowboys of the air will carry anything, from drugs, guns, diamonds and money to people - whatever you've got, to anywhere you want them to take it. But they pay a heavy price: crews routinely lose their lives to gun-toting pirates, terrorists, hostile state forces, jealous competitors and alcohol. Matt Potter has flown with these men, and in Outlaws Inc. he follows their incredible, action-packed story around the world. On the way he discovers a secret society populated by mecenaries, dictators, secret policemen, gangsters, businessmen and real-life Bond villains, and finds a story that is all the more terrifying for being true.

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson (3 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028307132X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283071324
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 488,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Outlaws Inc is an explosive read, full of heart-thumping excitement and brilliant detective work which shines a light into the darkest corners of the world. This story of flying mercenaries and their secret role in the world we all live in is all the more terrifying for being true' --Sean Rayment, author of Bomb Hunters and Defence & Security Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph

'A brilliantly told story. From the Eastern European crews, the action steadily progresses towards the larger players; it will dawn on everyone when they have reached the end of the book that these hardened airmen are mere expendable cogs in a giant machine. The laughs and action along the way make the book's overall sadness even more poignant. I will certainly buy a copy.' --Peter Danssaert, UN arms trade inspector & lead researcher, IPIS

'It's all very well to know that there is a global trade in illicit goods, and a small contingent of aviators willing to fly anything anywhere, but this is the only one inside story on the post-Soviet flyboys who represent such a key element in this hidden world. In all their boozy, devil-may-care glory, Matt Potter's unique book doesn't just offer up a fascinating tale of cratered runways, no-questions-asked drops, midnight flits, shell companies, hidden compartments and duct-taped aircraft of these men, it also tells us something about the modern world, and how for all society's efforts to make it regulated and respectable, there will always be those who thrive by finding ways to use, abuse and ignore the rules' --Dr Mark Galeotti, Academic Chair of the SCPS Center for Global Affairs, New York University, and author/editor of Organized Crime in History

'Outlaws Inc is the ultimate proof that the truth is stranger than fiction' --Brian Johnson-Thomas, journalist & member of the UN Security Council Panel of Experts

'A riveting homage to these extraordinary ex-Soviet planes and the dodgily heroic Russian and Ukrainian smugglers who fly and crash them' --John Sweeney, The Literary Review

'A chilling indictment of a worldwide failure of regulatory will' --Manchester Evening News

'Thrilling, provocative, and morally circumspect...a must read' --Goodreads.com

'Fascinating...it's Jason Bourne meets James Bond, only it's really happening, and it's happening now'
--Andy Ross, America Now

About the Author

Matt Potter is a journalist, editor and broadcaster. He has reported for BBC Radio from Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, and co-presented Radio 1's award-winning global travel shows. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as the Daily Telegraph, Esquire, Maxim, the Irish Examiner and Q. As a journalist in Belgrade, he broke the story of the NATA 'spy' giving away secrets to Serb forces on the web.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Story, Stunning Book 25 May 2011
By George
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of international true crime books (mafia/gangster stories) and when I saw Outlaws Inc I thought it looked like it was right up my street, the book being a story about how ex-Soviet air force crews basically went freelance after the fall of communism and the extraordinary things they've got up to since then. The author, Matt Potter, makes a big promise on the front about the 'Outlaws' being the most dangerous smugglers in the world and my oh my he does not disappoint. From the first few pages, when you find yourself with him on board one of these planes with a crew, right up to the end of the book when you finish it and the ramifications of what you've just been told gradually sink in, it's astonishing stuff. These crews of smugglers work for gangsters, dictators and dodgy governments, as you'd expect...but they also work for legitimate governments, our governments, charities, NGOs, the UN, all kinds of people supposedly on the right side of the law. Sounds unbelievable, I know, but read the book because it's all true. As a whole, Outlaws Inc is highly readable, dramatic, compelling and, quite frankly, terrifying. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in how the world really works. I've never read anything like it. As I said in the title of this review, it's a stunning book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for True Crime Fans 7 Jun 2011
I'm a big fan of crime books - any enjoy reading the likes of Tony Thompson and his books on UK gangs, Ross Kemp's Sky 1 series etc. After a friend recommended this book to me I decided to take a look and am really glad I did.
As with the best crime books it gives a fascinating insight into the underworld and I coulcn't put this one down. I heartily recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, great price, great product 21 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book arrived as described (brand new) from UK to Canada in a great time...about 6 business days...and for a great price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning book 17 Mar 2012
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's superbly written, expertly researched and gripping from start to finish. It's rare that non-fiction uncovers a story that's not even been hinted at elsewhere, but that's what Matt Potter has done. It reads like the best fiction but is better because you know it's true. Don't think it's just a story about the daring and adventure involved in gun-running, either. What it reveals about power and politics and charity is fascinating. And it's just as much a deeply moving human story of the pilots involved, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outlaws inc 19 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent account of what happened to some of the ex Russian Airforce personnel. Very readable and gives an insight into covert operations from which a lot of shadowy figures made their living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soviet enlightenment 3 Oct 2011
This is the usual type of book I choose to read. Having a liking to know the detail of real life in various world regions, especially following political change and how this affects the lives of ordinary citizens. Outlaws Inc. follows the lives of ex soviet pilots who formed their own transport business. There is much detail in this book along with some good humour and sadness with the lives lost trying to make a living in a dangerous world. It took a while to lay the foundation of this story but became an enjoyabe read. Some sections I read twice to absorb all that was described. The authour's first hand experience of flying with these ex soviet airmen created an excellent insight into the dangers they faced. An excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outlaws inc . 21 Sep 2011
By rich
The book I wanted to read after listening to the interview with matt potter and that was that.its a thrilling tale of the human spirit comradeship and the looking after ones own while enduring some difficult and dangerous situations .its also a book of survival with a go anywhere anytime attitude to these men and machines and of powerful and corrupt which manipulate governments and NGOs across the globe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Started off ok but dragged after a while 14 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The headline says it although I must be fair I have not finished it as I diverted to other books which probably sums it up
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Found it difficult to get into this book as appeared ...
Found it difficult to get into this book as appeared to repeat itself for the first 4 chapters. Overall it ended up as an interesting read with limited information
Published 8 days ago by Mark keen
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual type of book but a very good,informative read
First read this paperback in the library and really enjoyed it.The author Matt Potter unlike some writers actually went out and met these heroes (those are my words /the men... Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Storey
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough tape to film the crash.........
Thoroughly enjoyed this story of modern day Han Solo's flying Russian beasts of the sky to some of the most dangerous places on earth.
Published 12 months ago by Stephen Girling
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Interesting topic but I have tried to get into it several times and just couldn't get going. It actually provides a wider insight into why many Russians do what they do, however,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by SHyatt
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Topic, Repetitive Book
This book takes what is a truly interesting subject for about 40-60 pages and milks it over and over for 300 pages until bone dry. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2012 by A. Ross
1.0 out of 5 stars The Author's an Outlaw for Selling This Book
I was seriously disappointed by this book. It was a topic I knew nothing about, so thought this would enlighten me. It didn't. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by KevBhav
5.0 out of 5 stars Admire this man's nerve
This amazing book is indeed an eye-opener as to how the world really works - perfectly astonishing, in fact. Other reviewers have said that and they are right. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by bookworm
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