Date Published: September 19, 2023
Publisher: Brass Knuckle Books
JOHN DEATON'S RAW AND COMPELLING MEMOIR
From brass knuckle beatdowns on the schoolyard to showdowns with the SEC on the national news, every second of Deaton’s life has been a fight for survival. This book is the raw, wild John Deaton story, straight from the source. Born in one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit — the kind of place the city cordoned off with warning signs and growing up surrounded by hustlers, addicts, abusers, gang bangers, and the downtrodden, Deaton became a fighter, with violence becoming second nature.
Deep down however, all he wanted was to escape. Deaton’s escape would take him to law school, where he starved and battled cancer, while his peers lived off privilege. He became a marine, an attorney, a millionaire, a father — but the unexamined trauma from his past haunted and nearly broke him. This memoir is Deaton’s confession, his exorcism, his proclamation to fellow survivors: Don’t give up. Our birth is not our fate. We make our own fate.
Food Stamp Warrior is written with the depth of setting found in Hillbilly Elegy and the razor-sharp, unpretentious voice of Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. In a time of uncertainty and economic instability, Deaton's story is one of perseverance, resilience and empowerment.
READ AN EXCERPT BELOW
About the Author
John Deaton, Managing Partner of the Deaton Law Firm, is well-established in the legal field. But despite the many achievements throughout his legal career, including his military service, Deaton is perhaps best known for his dogged defense on behalf of digital asset holders across the globe. Deaton, often appearing on national cable news, gained significant notoriety related to his battle against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of over 75 thousand retail holders of the digital asset XRP. His efforts in the case earned him an almost cult-like following within the crypto community, becoming something of a folklore hero.
Since then, he’s earned a well-deserved reputation as a defender of the "little guy" and protector of the truth. Deaton was awarded the ICBLA’s Defender of Freedom Award for his efforts.
His first book, Food Stamp Warrior, is his no-holds-barred memoir. In it, Deaton reveals the trials of his youth growing up in one of America's most underprivileged and violent neighborhoods, his many struggles becoming a lawyer and a marine, and the trials and tribulations of fatherhood, and beyond. Food Stamp Warrior is a quintessential American tale, and a tale of perseverance, determination, and hope.
Excerpt from "Food Stamp Warrior"
Looking back, it just doesn’t make much sense. I remember
where I started. I know where I’m at now.
But it’s like looking at two different realities. When I
wake up in my home in Rhode Island, smack dab in the middle of suburbia these
days, my past could not be further away.
All the same, it’s still there: the streets, the struggles,
and that empty feeling, that yearning hunger that drove me forward through the
decades that should have left me dead. How in the world did I make it through?
That’s the heart of my story: survival itself.
Maybe you’re my friend or part of my family. You may know me
from my law practice. Maybe you know me from my Twitter following. Maybe you
don’t know me at all. But know this:
Everything you’re about to read is the truth of what I’ve
lived. From the things I’ve done to the things done to me, it has not been an
The nice home, the fancy car, the wonderful kids I now have
of my own…my purpose here is to scratch away that surface to show you the raw,
Ever since I was a young boy, I refused to allow my destiny
to be determined by the circumstances surrounding my birth or my upbringing. My
destiny would be self-imposed. My parents, guardians, and siblings alike,
always seemed drawn back to some destructive force or another. Our
circumstances, our personal struggles, our own failings…all these swirled
together into the fabric of the environment that surrounded us. I internalized
the feeling of this, to the point where it became invisible and inevitable to me.
But then it became unbearable. So, this is the true story of
how I untangled it all and got to where I am today.
Throughout the process of writing this memoir, I’ve
sometimes asked myself: Why? What compels me to dig back through the past? To
others who have lived a life like mine, perhaps you know that urge to push it
all down, to live in the better days of the present and forget what you wished
you didn’t recall in the first place.
Raw determination is just one half of survival. I tell my
story now because I know that a lot of others out in the world also hide from
themselves. In the end, there’s no hiding from it. Not forever. Trust me on
that one. Self-discovery is not complete without the journey inward. On the
other side of self-discovery is where real freedom lies.
You’ll have to understand my neighborhood, where I’ve come
from, and the people who lived there with me. You’ll need to experience all it
took to break free from that dead-end place and make a name for myself in this
world. You’ll have to feel the same burning desire I felt as I clawed myself
into the world of law, and the need I had to create the security and comfort
that I never experienced as a child.
I’ve been many things throughout my life: a son, a brother,
a hustler, a victim, a fighter, a cancer patient, a Marine, a lawyer, a
husband, a father. So many faces it might seem suspect. I’ve asked myself:
Which face is the mask? One of them must be, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
What I know is that I was a street kid first, and it
prepared me for everything to come. There were many times when it might have
destroyed me too, and either fate or sheer human willpower carried me through.
Even when I thought I
left the hood behind, it followed me. It became a part of me. To success, to
money, to fatherhood. Until I accepted my life—all of it—I would never be able
to fully live it. What’s the point in surviving then?
That’s what I decided to tell here.
First, I will take you through the same gauntlet I walked
through every day on the mean streets of Highland Park. It won’t be pretty. It
will likely not conform with the way you see the world or your own experiences.
All I ask is that you listen, take it in, and understand for many of us out
there, my story really isn’t that uncommon. One man’s nightmare is another
After that, you’ll experience the steep climb I underwent to
escape the gravitational pull of Highland Park and the people who surrounded me
there. Love, heartbreak, disease, betrayal—and all of that before I even
stepped into my first courtroom. After the trials and tribulations of my young
life, I want to show people that survival is possible—no matter the odds.
Finally, you’ll learn the hard way, just like me, how those
who climb the highest can still end up falling just as far. But you can learn
from my example and just maybe save yourself by facing that dive head-on while
reaching a place you never knew even existed.
When I reached middle age, I thought I’d seen it all. I
wasn’t even close. Surprisingly, though, this last revelation turned out to be
the most important lesson I’ve learned.
This world is much more than it appears, and so is every
life lived in it. While this memoir speaks of the only life I’ve known, it
touches upon the struggles we all face. Race, poverty, abuse given and
self-inflicted alike—these are cycles that repeat everywhere across the globe.
I think my life shows how these cycles are created—and
answers the question of whether they can be broken. Trust me, they can.
The book that follows
is a map of my experiences, good and bad, transcendental and tragic, warts and
all. I’ve told it the only way I know how—from my birth ’til now, though not
always in that order.
Love me or hate me, believe it or not—take a seat. Imagine
you’re in my courtroom now. Let me lay out my case, show you the evidence, and
you can even be the jury too…
But my fate is my own. So, get ready for the opening
Welcome to Highland Park: my own personal hell on Earth.
Home sweet home.