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4.2 out of 5 stars
Killing Pablo: the Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History
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Pablo Escobar was the 'richest, most powerful criminal in history.' He was intelligent, paranoid and vicious. This informative book charts his rise and the hunt which led to his death. It gives detail on the recent prior history of Columbia and the drug trade. It describes the politicians, diplomats and police officers involved in the chase. It exposes a very dirty business where the US CIA and DEA effectively cooperated with death squads set up by rival drug gangs. I found it a little too detailed at times. It is not a thriller but a well-researched documentary.
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on 15 August 2013
In information terms, this book is great and gives a real insight into Pablo's rapid rise and fall within Colombian society. Lots of dates and events are collated through various interviews and research which I found really interesting, but the writing style and literal typing of the book left room for improvement; sometimes it just doesn't read well and there are quite a few missing full stops throughout the book.
For anyone wishing to inform themselves of how Pablo Escobar was killed, this is a good book.
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on 12 June 2011
Pablo Escobar was one of the world's prime monsters and at one point probably the richest, becoming a billionaire on the back of the American cocaine business. I found it difficult to put this book down as it traces his violent domination of Colombia with the fatal (for him) involvement of the Americans through the "War on Drugs". Their clean and dirty manoeuvres eventually wore away his power and lead to his shooting.
Mark Bowden has written a great book & I'm surprised that it's not better known.
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on 26 July 2010
A real page turner, reads like the Godfather or Scarface, with the obvious difference being that this is all true.
Mark Bowden has done good research and brings life to the characters and names you may have heard in the news.
Escobar's rise from street hustler to Americas most wanted is fascinating, and the figures will shock you. This was no Robin Hood.
If you enjoyed "Black Hawk Down" Or have an interest in late 20th century American politics, both North and South, then this book is for you.
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on 10 November 2014
Dull but I think that this was it was so poorly researched; few footnotes or appendices. I understand if people's identities have to remain secret, but throughout the book I had no idea whether what the writer was saying was truth or speculation. No 'fact' appeared to be attributable except to the author himself - I do like a little confirmation of the veracity of an author's claims. Very disappointing and I won't buy any other book by this author.
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on 23 August 2009
Very well researched and detailed account of a truly staggering story.
Indeed the money & amount of casual violence involved is so incredible that the book benefits from Bowden's reserved & detached style & ultimately is all the more powerful for not taking pushing sensationalist angles of the story. Could easily have got bogged down in drug use tales & moralising.
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on 24 January 2014
I'll be honest; the main reason I bought this was because it was name dropped in Breaking Bad. The book really is an excellent read; giving historic insight into the life of one of the most successful drugs criminal and the plight of the FBI in bringing him down. If you are interested in the criminal underworld and you are not easily shocked then buy this and enjoy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2007
This is a decent read for anyone with an interest of how US forces operated in South and Central America around the time this book relates to.
I found myself becoming bored with the superlatives used to describe the US spying techniques and yearning for greater insight into how Pablo and the cartel were adapting and still avoiding capture.
A well researched and insightful book just occaisionally lacking in detail with regards to Pablo himself.
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on 25 December 2014
The story of pablo escobar has made me reconsider my definition of evil. Escobar may not have killed as many people as Hitler but his indifference towards murder, especially that of civilians, is chilling. Throughout the book I found myself cheering on the unsung heroes of the operation, while forgiving quite easily those who used unconventional means.
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on 26 February 2013
this was a facinating and informative book . read it in two days could not put it down as well as detailing the life of a master criminal it was also very informative on the social and political life of columbia and the war on drugs
overall a well writin book by mark bowden and will read more books by this author in the future
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