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World-class beaches, fragrant frangipani, swaying palms, and hula girls. Most folks think of Hawaii as a vacation destination. Mob-style executions, drug smuggling, and vicious gang warfare are seldom part of the postcard image. Yet, Hawaii was once home to not only Aloha spirit, but also a ruthless, homegrown mafia underworld. From 1960 to 1980, Hawaiian gangsters grew rich off a robust trade in drugs, gambling, and prostitution that followed in the wake of Hawaii's tourist boom. Thus, by 1980-the year Charles Marsland was elected Honolulu's top prosecutor-the honeymoon island paradise was also plagued by violence, corruption, and organized crime. The zeal that Marsland brought to his crusade against the Hawaiian underworld was relentless, self-destructive, and very personal. Five years earlier, Marsland's son had been gunned down. His efforts to bring his son's killers to justice-and indeed, eradicate the entire organized criminal element in Hawaii-make for an extraordinary tale that culminates with intense courtroom drama. Hawaii Five-O meets Wiseguy in author Jason Ryan's vigorously reported chronicle of brazen gangsters, brutal murders, and a father's quest for vengeance-all set against an unlikely backdrop of seductive tropical beauty.Show more
In the late 1970s and early '80s, a cadre of freewheeling, Southern pot smugglers lived at the crossroads of Miami Vice and a Jimmy Buffett song. These irrepressible adventurers unloaded nearly a billion dollars worth of marijuana and hashish through the eastern seaboard's marshes. Then came their undoing: Operation Jackpot, one of the largest drug investigations ever and an opening volley in Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs. In Jackpot, author Jason Ryan takes us back to the heady days before drug smuggling was synonymous with deadly gunplay. During this golden age of marijuana trafficking, the country's most prominent kingpins were a group of wayward and fun-loving Southern gentlemen who forsook college educations to sail drug-laden luxury sailboats across the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Les Riley, Barry Foy, and their comrades eschewed violence as much as they loved pleasure, and it was greed, lust, and disaster at sea that ultimately caught up with them, along with the law. In a cat-and-mouse game played out in exotic locations across the globe, the smugglers sailed through hurricanes, broke out of jail, and survived encounters with armed militants in Colombia, Grenada, and Lebanon. Based on years of research and interviews with imprisoned and recently released smugglers and the law enforcement agents who tracked them down, Jackpot is sure to become a classic story from America's controversial Drug Wars.Show more
Today, a trip to Hawaii is a simple six-hour flight from the West Coast. But almost a century ago, the first flights to Hawaii required a nerve-wracking and uncertain twenty-six-hour journey to isolated and elusive islands located in the middle of the world's largest ocean. Pilots prayed they would encounter land after flying a full day and night across 2,400 miles of the open Pacific.Race to Hawaii chronicles the thrilling first flights to Hawaii in the 1920s, during the Golden Age of Aviation. These journeys were fraught with danger. To reach the tiny islands, fearless pilots flew unreliable and fragile aircraft outfitted with primitive air navigation equipment. The first attempts were made by the US Navy in the flying boat PN-9 No.1, whose crew endured a harrowing crossing. Next were Army Air Corps aviators and a civilian pilot, who informally raced each other to Hawaii in the weeks after Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris.Finally came the Dole Derby, an unprecedented 1927 air race in which eight planes set off at once across the Pacific, all eager to reach the islands first and claim a cash prize offered by 'Pineapple King' James Dole. Military men, barnstormers, a schoolteacher, a Wall Street bond salesman, a Hollywood stunt flyer, and veteran World War aces all encountered every type of hazard during their perilous flights, from fuel shortages to failed engines, forced sea landings and severe fatigue to navigational errors. With so many pilots taking aim at the far-flung islands in so many different types of planes, everyone wondered who would reach Hawaii first, or at all.Show more