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Outlaws Inc.: Flying with the World's Most Dangerous Smugglers Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Jun 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson (3 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028307132X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283071324
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 949,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

Book Description

An extraordinary journey into the biggest, most impenetrable trafficking network the world has ever seen. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
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. The basics can be summarized in a long paragraph:

The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to sudden unemployment for hundreds of thousands of former Soviet soldiers, and essentially free-for-all looting of former Soviet military supplies. A large number of experienced military pilots and crew immediately went into business as "no problem" couriers (as in, "any cargo, any place, any time -- no problem") using ex-military Antonov and Ilyushin cargo jets. Due to the complete inability of any international agency to comprehensively monitor planes, companies, and crews, and the complete porousness of borders and customs operations in most of the developing world, these crews have thrived as couriers of cargo ranging from completely legitimate food aid to international sanction-busting arms (although the bulk of the money is made in the "gray" middle). Some of these businesses are more legit that others, but even so, there's no way to really know whether a particular flight is totally clean or not, since the crews are often make their money by smuggling tons of personal cargo. The beauty of the ecosystem is that there's enough plausible deniability for all governments involved, as well as the owners, and crewmen. The so-called "kingpins" you may have heard about, such as Viktor "The Merchant of Death" Bout (upon whom the film Lord of War is largely based), are only middlemen, there are people higher up the food chain who may or may not be very highly placed in former Soviet states such as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

That story is pretty interesting, however Potter isn't able to tell it in a fluid or concise way.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disappointed, it had such potential but does not contain much technical detail from an aviation point of view. It was a good effort to bring this interesting subject area to light, it was never going to be easy. If it had been written by a member of one of the crews it would have been far better.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is quite interesting and you can tell that the author was walking into a really unchartered aspect of modern history, but just as you felt the bit hit was about to happen, it sort of went back on itself... Again and again, so it became a little bit repetitive in the end. Worth a try, it's pretty groundbreaking stuff.
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