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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

4.4 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Length: 307 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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


Vivid, fast-paced and well researched - Sunday Times

A remarkable opus of investigative journalism - The Times

Mark Bowden's thrilling, completely engrossing book brings the man and his bloody times to vivid life. I couldn't put it down. - Howard Marks

Powerfully written and well researched - Independent on Sunday

A psychotic safari - Daily Mail

A master of narrative journalism, Bowden employs the same techniques of reconstructing scenes and dialogue that made his bestselling Black Hawk Down gripping reading. - New York Times

A well researched and staggering account. - Time Out

A brilliant reconstruction... Clear and gripping - Evening Standard

Reads like a Clancyesque thriller, it's fast-paced, full of page-turning intrigue, corruption, and thwarted pursuit. - San Francisco Chronicle

A compelling, almost Shakespearean tale - Los Angeles Times

If ever there was a real-life James Bond villain, Pablo Escobar was it... 10 times better than any fictional crime story - Uncut

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6927 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,693 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book explains first how Pablo Escobar scrambled his way up to the top of the cocaine distribution network known as the Medellin cartel, and then goes into much detail about the last years of his life, especially the period that he was on the run from the Colombian police, the CIA, the DEA and US military advisers.

It's a story of violence that is unbelievably casual. Pablo Escobar and his henchmen had a simple way of keeping control of their empire, and of their public relations : kill everyone who disagrees. It helped that Pablo Escobar played the bountiful benefactor in his home town of Medellin, so that many of the locals revered, respected and helped him during his months-long life underground.

The author does a good job of describing the various efforts that were made to curb Escobar's activities, both in Colombia and in the USA. It was hard to keep up with the description of the political situation in Colombia, partially because so many presidential candidates or prominent politicians, judges and law enforcement experts were killed. Finally, a Major Martinez was assigned the job of finding the fugitive Escobar, not once, but twice. Indeed, Escobar had negotiated a type of voluntary surrender that allowed him to run his drug empire from a comfortable country-club type prison where he controlled every guard! After a much-publicized escape from that prison, he went on the run for about 16 months, moving from safe house to safe house within the city of Medellin, while various technical experts tried to figure out where he was based on the radio signals coming from his cell phones.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Watched NARCOS and then read this book to see how much of the Netflix series was true, surprisingly most of it. Fascinating story of how Pablo Esobar become the worlds largest drug smuggler but then destroyed himself by taking on the Colombian State, the US drug enforcement agencies and other drug lords in Columbia.
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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: 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
Excellent background and unbelieveable story of the worlds richest coke dealer to-date. With 5 billion in the bank El Padrino weaved a tale of immesurable violence against the people who saught to capture him, with his charasmatic personallity and ability to scare the bejeebers out of all and sundry (including WHOLE goverments) -Mark Bowden captures the electrically charged atmoshphere between the goverments of Columbia and the USA who between them spent millions in $$'s and thousands of lives in 'killing Pablo'.
This is fantastically reseached and well written account of a tale of power absolute, corruption and the will of man who thought he could buy the country that sired him - he wanted to be respected!. It is mainly involved in the actual 'chase', 'inprisonment', 'escape', 'chase' and finally 'death' of one of the most powerful men in modern society. A must read from cover to cover. Enthrallingly in-depth.
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