Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
This is one of the most amazing, if not the most amazing, books that I have ever read. It reads like fiction, but is (according to the author) a true story. It must be true, because I cannot imagine anyone making up this stuff.
I learned a lot about current day India. It confirmed my lack to desire to visit that country. (Slumdog Millionaire helped with visuals after my reading).
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.