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Killing Pablo: The True Story Behind the Hit Series 'Narcos' by [Bowden, Mark]
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Killing Pablo: The True Story Behind the Hit Series 'Narcos' Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Killing Pablo, Mark Bowden's intoxicating account of the turbulent life of Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar and his inevitable demise, relates in riveting detail the cataclysmic effect one man can have on the world economy. Finally tracked down and killed in 1992 after a 15-month intense manhunt that had resulted in hundreds of casualties on both sides, Escobar was, ironically, that archetypal American hero, the outlaw, siding with "ordinary people" against the ruling oligarchy (although at his peak Forbes magazine listed him as the seventh-richest person in the world). His break came when the American drug of choice changed from dope to cocaine, a golden, or perhaps powdered, egg exploited by Escobar with resourceful manipulation of officials and politicians--he would offer the classic choice of his silver or his lead. Even when incarcerated at La Catedral prison on a smuggling charge, he turned it into a state within a state. The guards, the army and the police all fell within his pay and he led his operation with a quiet, well-mannered ruthlessness. Until, that is, the Americans took an interest.

Bowden is well-equipped to describe the drawn-out campaign by the intelligence services to assassinate Escobar, having already covered similar territory in the superb Black Hawk Down, which chronicled the disastrous 1993 American operation in Mogadishu. His descriptions of the electronic surveillance that finally ensnared the hounded Don and the shady mutual interests of civilian militia group Los Pepes, the Colombian government forces and the US Delta unit that wore him down, are taut, dramatic and deeply thrilling. While he stops short of claiming that the Americans were present or active in the killing, he admits that Delta knew roughly where Escobar was and were dismissive of the electronic wizardry, pointing out that Escobar was eventually spotted by the naked eye. Though Escobar died, the circumstances he seized upon would be harder to expunge. The troubling, concluding lines of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui come to mind, referring to a character based on Al Capone and Hitler but who could have been Escobar, "The bastard son is dead but the bitch is still on heat". --David Vincent


The first title from Atlantic Books, Killing Pablo pins their ambitious trade credentials firmly to the mast and should make their rivals just that little bit nervous. Charting the rise and fall of Colombian drugs baron Pablo Escobar, Bowden's account is firmly in the factual bestseller mould: contemporary, colourful and addictive. Escobar's career was an extraordinary one: he was an elected member of parliament, and built roads, houses and hospitals. He was a hero to the poor. He was also "the richest and most powerful criminal in history", head of a brutal crime organisation holding a country to ransom. The efforts to bring Escobar to justice involved covert action by US Special Forces and intelligence services and is a story which, until now, has never been told in detail. Bowden had access to highly classified documents to compile this authoritative account, as well as secret surveillance footage, wire tap transcripts and he interviewed all of the major players in the case. The result is a colourful and absorbing account of true crime, corruption and an international manhunt, written with excitement and flair.. Pablo should prove a trade killer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6926 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book.
I particularly liked the way that Bowden took the time at the beginning of the book to explain the recent history of Colombia, and how Pablo came to grow up in such an incredibly violent country. It put everything into perspective for me as I read further into the book.
Mark Bowden touches on several sensitive areas in the book. For example, the premise that came to mean death for Pablo - that a civilised society cannot be seen to allow a man like him to live in such luxury. This meant that the American and Colombian governments co-operated closely to ensure that Escobar would not escape. It also meant that Ronnie Reagan had to bend several laws governing US involvement in another country's troubles, so that US intelligence officals could help track Escobar.
He very nearly did escape on several occasions, though. And this is what Bowden uses to keep you on the edge of your seat. You get a very real impression of just how powerful, resourceful and cruel Pablo was. And you also get a real feeling for how hopeless the job of the Colombian police was - with Pablo one step ahead of them all along.
There's even a twist of sorts - as Bowden explains the quirk of fortune that allows the police to catch him at last.
Superb book - well researched and well constructed to maintain the suspense.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There appears to have been more than a few books written about Pablo Escobar and more recently television and movie biopics My Father Pablo Escobar [DVD], Escobar: Paradise Lost [DVD] [2015]. This book gives an enthralling narrative of this crime lord's rise to power, his criminal activity and his demise. There is a large volume of detail (as evidenced by the many sources of reference) but it is all presented in an easily readable way. Only a short part of the book is given over to Pablo's early life and his rise to extreme wealth, the remainder focusing on the law's long pursuit of him. The facts on Pablo's ridiculous wealth is mind boggling and the facets of his personality that led to his ultimate leadership and power are fascinating. This book presents these remarkably yet reads like a thriller and is certainly a page turner.
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Format: Paperback
This is a biography of the life of drug king Pablo Escobar. The writer has clearly got some inside story as to his life as it is very detailed (probably too detailed regarding his early life which does drag on far too long). However, if you stick with it, it does give a fantastic insight into Pablo's early years, what formed him and Columbia's recent history.

It also describes the Colombian and US Govts attempts to bring him to justice and the time he spent in prison which was more of a five start hotel, run by his staff and even the prison guards were on his payroll. It also exposes the illegal, covert US operation (and the manipulation of several US laws) to bring Escobar to book, culminating in his assassination on 1992.

Escobar comes across as a very intelligent man, bit of a modern day Robin Hood to some extent and you are rooting for him at times until you realise the death and destruction he brought to the world.

A well researched book that is certainly worth a read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating look at one of the world's most notorious bad guys who wreaked havoc in his native country and became public enemy number one in America as the principle supplier of the tidal wave of cocaine that flooded the USA in the 80s and 90s.

The author provides a dispassionate assessment of both Escobar and the men, Columbian and American, who hunted him down. You are left to draw your own ethical conclusions - particularly in regards the vigilante group with close links to the Military who decide non-judicial action is the only way to get to Escobar, not to mention the playboy himself who has a decadent life style not disturbed by randomly killing anyone he disagrees with or who he believes poses a threat.

The only criticism I have of the book is it loses its way for some time in the middle of the story. It was something of a slog at times. Well worth persevering though. It's an important story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book although it's not great. The story of the hunt for Pablo Escobar at time reads a little like fiction. It's hard to believe that a career criminal could cause such wide spread destruction and could have such a strong hold on a country. I seem to recall Pablo Escobar being described as some sort of criminal mastermind back in the day but he comes across as a violent bully. The descriptions give the impression that he muscled his way into other peoples criminal activities, arranged for people to be murdered and then stole their ideas. This is not a biography of Escobar, although the first chunk of the novel reads that way. By necessity there is a large amount of background, first on the country and history and then on the man himself. What comes across very clearly is that the Columbian people loved (and still do love) a man who authorised the murder of hundreds of police and civilians to make a huge amount of money selling cocaine to the Americans. The book doesn't try to justify the Columbian peoples attitude to the drugs trade, not does it try to justify the clearly criminal activities employed by Columbian police and gangs who conspired to bring Escobar down. The facts are delivered in a nice middle of the road, matter of fact way. What is alluded to is the complicity of certain elements of the US government, military and criminal investigators who turned a blind eye to multiple murders as a means to an end.. Again this is presented in a non judgemental style. The facts are presented in a nice, easy to read style, the tale flows at a good pace and it is very enjoyable. Some details feel a little rushed which affects the score given. Oh to be able to give half stars because 3 stars feels a little harsh for a good effort but 4 stars would to too generous.
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