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The Power Of The Dog [Hardcover]

Don Winslow
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 May 2005
Don Winslow's masterpiece is not only a page-turning thriller but also a rich and compelling novel about a very mixed group of characters, each in his or her own way seeking some sort of salvation or redemption. Set on the Mexican border and against the background of the US government's (via its agencies the CIA, FBI and DEA) underhand encouragement, sponsoring and active financing of the development of the drug cartels and their trade in Mexico, The Power of the Dog tells of the stories of a hugely varied cast of characters: a young Chicano boy from the barrio who makes good and becomes a Senator; a morally troubled DEA boss who tries to do good, but who is driven by events and by a desire both for salvation and revenge to sleep with the devil; the leaders of the drug gangs, some of them psychopathic, others urbane, civilised and deadly; a high-class prostitute; and a charismatic Catholic priest who is dedicated to the improvement of the lives of his people. Out of this material,Winslow has crafted a hugely ambitious - and hugely successful - novel that works on so many levels and offers so many satisfactions it defies belief. (2003-04-02)


Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434012068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434012060
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

...an epic of Godfather proportions with just enough fact sprinkled into the stew to make this one fabulous fable -- Andrew Vachss

...the first great dope novel since Dog Soldiers thirty years ago. It’s frightening and sad, with a superbly sustained intensity -- James Ellroy

Winslow’s knowledge and insight have never been more fully realized. I believed every word of it. -- Robert Ferrigno

Book Description

Don Winslow's break-out novel, a Great American Novel in the league of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and James Ellroy's The Cold 6000. (2003-04-02)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 6 Aug 2007
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best crime novels I've ever read. It might make you cry; cheer; feel angry; thrilled; and exhausted. It will certainly not leave you unmoved. For those who just want action, then there is hardly a chapter without action. For those who want an interesting and intelligent read, it is that as well. It is like a cross between 'The Godfather' and 'American Tabloid'.

The core of the story is the crusade of Art Keller, an American-Hispanic DEA agent, against the Barrera family, Mexican drug barons, who he meets as a young man at the beginning of his career, is initially friendly with, but soon becomes their dedicated enemy. The fight between them lasts nearly thirty years.

It is also a tale of political expediency; cynical pragmatism and corruption.
The Mexican government feels it cannot afford to crack down on the drug trade; The American government have their own agenda in South America, in their fight against communism; and the Catholic church wants a way back into Mexico. So the result is a deadly minefield for anyone who dares to try to do some good.

There are five main characters, whose lives criss cross over the years. Art Keller, the constant outsider, who understands the mentality of the barrio;Adan Barrera, who, rather like Michael Corleone, in the Godfather, turns to 'the dark side' after a brutal act of violence against him and wants into the family business; Father Juan Parada, the decent, brave priest who always speaks his mind; Nora Hayden, the call girl with a heart; and, Sean Callan, the hitman who wants out, but keeps being dragged back in. There are many more great characters.

I raced to the end of this book and was sorry I had finished it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstanding 6 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of 40 years of history as seen through the eyes of two men on either side of the drugs trade. It will open your mind and should seriously make you question aspects of American Foreign policy and the truth behind the War on Drugs. Full of amazing characters and beautifully written.

Absolute quality that is difficult to put down. Do yourself a favour and read this book.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of the Novel 20 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
With 'The Power of the Dog', Don Winslow has written one of the best books I have ever read. It tells the story of the Mexican drug trade through the 70s to present day. Not only do you get Mexican gangsters, but also the Italian Mafia, Irish, Cubans, corrupt Mexican cops, covert CIA ops and the DEA.

This rich brew of characters and influences makes the book both action packed and riveting to read. The novel has four major characters that drive the plot forward over 30 years and also has plenty of supporting characters who have differing fates.

Winslow does not shy away from the violence of the drug trade and also seems to have researched very well giving the book an informed feel. The characters are fantastic; Winslow makes all of them three dimensional so even the nicest character may get sucked into evil. The style of writing and story itself is excellent throughout and will leave you gripped.

Read this book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 9 Nov 2006
By Fat Bob
Format:Paperback
Wow - this book has jumped straight to the top of my favourites list. It has it all - drugs, sex, violence, politics, religion. It has Mexican drug cartels, Italian and Irish Mafia, veteran DEA and CIA agents, hookers and priests, communist guerrillas and high-level government cover-ups. Its like a cross between Scarface and Killing Pablo, charting the rise of the fictional Barrera brothers from street hoodlums to billionaire drug lords, and the catalogue of torture and killing left in their wake. Central to this is the obsessive DEA agent Art Keller, who pulls out all the stops to bring them down, battling the bandits and his own conscience as he discovers the truth about the real war on drugs.

Every chapter has a running gun battle, an interrogation scene, a double-crossing or a brutal murder. At times it even feels like there's too much action, but this doesn't detract from the gripping and complex plot. It's huge in scope, spanning 30 years and several countries, interlinking different characters and organisations and playing them off against each other, keeping us guessing until its bloody conclusion.

Wimslow's prose is great, eloquent enough but sprinkled with street slang and gangster-speak. No flowery language, just straight to the point and hard as nails. The violence is shocking and frequent (torture scenes leave little to the imagination). This is undoubtedly a blokes' book, a testosterone-packed powerhouse of a novel, and certainly not for the faint-hearted.

My favourite book used to be The Godfather. Not any more. Power of the Dog is even better, and as the front cover states, a future classic.

Essential reading. 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller 7 July 2006
Format:Paperback
Could not find fault with this book. An absolute page turner from start to finish. Easily the best book I've read this year. Will certainly be reading more from Mr. Winslow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It will hit you hard... 29 May 2006
Format:Paperback
Fabulously violent from the offset, at first I was not too keen on this book, thinking it had more bloodshed than brains. Now almost at the end, how wrong I was. Not only is it a great thriller, that can stand comparison with anything by, say, Forsythe or Ludlum, it is also a lesson in the history and geopolitics of the drug trade in the Americas. Real events are deftly interwoven with the plausible fictional narrative forming a devastating expose of the brutal but fruitless war against drugs waged from the north. If you want a better understanding of the resentment and bitterness that exists between the US and many South American countries, especially Mexico and Columbia, you could do much worse than start here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, sweeping, Mexican drug novel
Don Winslow seems to be a bit of a secret. Not nearly enough people know him. He can get confused with his namesake who writes sexy pulp fiction but this book is very much written... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Phil Maguire
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read!
This is a fantastic book. The storyline is powerful, engaging and exciting. The characters are gripping and the plot keeps you gripped. It would make a fantastic film!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic storyline
I love this book. The characterisation is similar to a Lehane or Pelecanos book but the scope is like James Ellroy's american tabloid trilogy ( but I prefer Winslows clear prose... Read more
Published 4 months ago by iain1975
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping storyline
Brilliant, sweeping storyline about the Mexican drug trade and the characters caught up in it . Always enthralling , another well written tale by Mr Winslow. Highly recommend.
Published 4 months ago by A Mc
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.!
I bought this book on a recommendation from a guardian comment.If you ever was curious as to what you were buying into with your,"something for the weekend",columbian... Read more
Published 5 months ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Fantastic story, you get lost in the world of these characters, you get to have a deep understanding of them and their complicated lives...... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic
I must have read this book twenty times. Improves every time. An ambitious novel with a real depth of characters.

My favourite book without a doubt
Published 8 months ago by Daniel Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner
A powerful novel set around casinos. It has all the ingredients ; a strong storyline with twists, good characters and a real emotional rollercoaster ride. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C. Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force
This book is quite simply outstanding. It's the story of the evil of drug trafficking by "narcotraficantes" and has been extensively researched as well as told brilliantly... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr M I Summerfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle book
Bought this as a future read not got round to reading yet but as a product it looks as good as all the other books I have bought
Published 9 months ago by book worm
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