Robert Sabbag

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Too Tough to Die

This is the story of the men and women of America's oldest law enforcement agency, by far the most interesting and unusual agency in the country today, and arguably the most effective.

Deputy marshals--who achieved glory as gunfighters more than a century ago, when they tamed the west--today operate the federal Witness Security Program (WITSEC), commonly known as the witness protection program, into which criminal informants disappear, relocated under new identities far from the scene of their former lives. Deputies track down fugitives just as they did in 1880, when Pat Garrett set out on horseback after Billy the Kid. They have penetrated deep into Latin America, bringing drug barons to trial in the United States.

Annually, the marshals hunt down and capture more fugitives from justice than all other federal law-enforcement agencies combined.

Too Tough to Die is a riveting account of marshals past and present, from their founding in 1789, through the Whiskey Rebellion, Reconstruction and the closing of the frontier, to Prohibition, Civil Rights, Watergate and the War on Drugs. Today, deputies have easily equaled their earlier achievements, capturing criminals (and the limelight) in a spectacular series of stings, celebrated manhunts and dramatic shoot-outs.

This is the book that led to Robert Sabbag's becoming the only journalist ever allowed entry to the marshals' top-secret Witness Security Safe Site outside Washington, D.C., and the only one ever granted access to a relocated witness-family new to the program. His is the only comprehensive, inside look at the witness protection program ever afforded a writer by the Department of Justice.

Considered the definitive book on the U.S. marshals, Too Tough to Die is history at its best, a spirited, up-to-date adventure story and "must" reading for anyone with an interest in law enforcement, crime, or contemporary journalism.

A Reader's Digest selection for Today's Best Nonfiction.



"The U.S. Marshals Service has more than its share of colorful, larger-than-life personalities. In swift-paced narrative, Sabbag deftly leads us through many of their adventures... Recommended."
--Library Journal


"Sabbag expertly provides portraits of several marshals and tales of their adventures, ranging from high drama to low comedy"
--Publishers Weekly


"As I read it, I wished I'd written it. Surely I will steal from it. Robert Sabbag is a hell of a reporter, and this is a hell of a book."
--Robert B. Parker

Non-Fiction
"One of the best books about drugs ever written."
--Robert Stone
"A compelling biography."
--Playboy
"Recommended."
--Library Journal
"A compelling mix of reporting and memoir... [it] packs an emotional wallop."
-- Publishers Weekly