SOCIAL SCIENCES

Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History

S. & S. Jun. 2015. 288p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781451667592. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781451667615. CRIME
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Picture three twentysomething dudes with little to no experience and a $300 million arms contract with the U.S. military. What could possibly go wrong? Journalist Lawson (Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con) does a great job of weaving the central story of the three guys with a broader perspective of the war in Afghanistan and a government rife with incompetency. David Packouz, Alex Podrizki, and their leader, Efraim Diveroli, didn't know what to do with their lives unti one of them, Diveroli, became a legal gunrunner. Every morning would consist of smoking marijuana and perusing the federal website that listed all of the contracts open to bidding. Diveroli was successful and brought in a partner, Packouz. With their confidence high, they decided to try to win a big contract, and that's when they saw one for an ammunition-starved Afghanistan military. Against all odds, they won the deal and immediately were in over their heads. Forging documents, dealing with Albanian mafia, generals yelling at them—and that's not even the worst of it.
VERDICT This is a thrilling portrait of three men who were in a position they never should have found themselves. Lawson clearly shows all of the parts as events start to unravel. For fans of entrepreneurial tales, military contract work, and lovers of the movie Lord of War. [Warner Brothers is making a film version, directed by Todd Phillips.—Ed.]

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