August 27, 1990 12:00 PM


The harrowing story of Zachary Swan, a pseudonym for a real drug smuggler, was first published in 1976. It was then and remains, refurbished with a new introduction by author Robert Sabbag, one of the best books on the cocaine business. Swan, a prep school rebel and ex-Marine, began his drug career in 1970, while working for his dad’s packaging firm. Sabbag describes Swan’s scams and skirmishes with a lucid reporter’s eye, not wasting a word. He writes of an era when men such as Swan were seen by some as heroic buccaneers—an illusion the advent of crack shattered. Swan quit the trade after he was arrested and acquitted of possession charges on technicalities. Today, Sabbag writes in his introduction, Swan is “married and the father of three, in suburban Pennsylvania. He pays his taxes and he is active in the PTA. That he votes Republican would come as no surprise to me.” (Vintage, $9.95)

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