Italian adventurer and sea captain Celso Cesare Moreno traveled the world lying, scheming, and building an extensive patron/client network to establish his reputation as a middleman and person of significance. Through his machinations, Moreno became a critical player in the expansion of western trade and imperialism in Asia, the trafficking of migrant workers and children in the Atlantic, the conflicts of Americans and Native Hawaiians over the fate of Hawaii, and the imperial competitions of French, British, Italian, and American governments in an important era of imperial expansion during the nineteenth century. This book teases out Moreno's enormous peculiarities and fascination as well as his significance. It examines how he repeatedly sought a role at the center of a globalizing world with gusto and had no qualms about lying or betraying others. Dragged by his uncontrollable polemical passions, the old Captain died alone, unloved by anyone and with no meaningful relations to others. With its focus on Moreno, this book illustrates some of the most puzzling cultural traits of emigrant Italian elites. Called a “carpetbagger,” “land pirate,” “extinct volcano,” among many other derogatory monikers, Celso emerges in this fascinating biography as a multifaceted, chameleon-like personality not reducible to a single epithet.