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Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw (edition 2007)
by Mark Bowden
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142000957, Paperback)Readers of Black Hawk Down know Mark Bowden can tell an exciting story about as well as any writer at work today. Killing Pablo is further proof. It describes the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, a notorious Colombian drug lord who became one of the narcotic trade's first billionaires. Pablo--Bowden refers to him by his first name throughout the book--started out as a petty thief and wound up running a massive smuggling empire. At his height in the 1980s, he owned fleets of boats and planes, plus 19 separate residences in Medellin, each with its own helipad. Violence marked everything he did: "He wasn't an entrepreneur, and he wasn't even an especially talented businessman. He was just ruthless." He bought off police, politicians, and judges throughout his country, and killed many others who wouldn't cooperate. The Colombian government tried to capture him, but without much luck; he evaded them time after time. "Now and then the police achieved enough surprise to catch him, literally, with his pants down. In , about one thousand national police raided one of his mansions," writes Bowden. "Pablo fled in his underwear, avoiding the police cordon on foot." He got away, again, but his days were numbered. He was making powerful enemies in both Colombia and the United States. The final straw probably came when Pablo's men murdered a popular politician and, three months later, planted a bomb on a plane, killing 110 people, including two Americans.
The bulk of Killing Pablo describes what happened when the U.S. government put its resources behind the hunt for Pablo. Bowden describes the search in gripping detail, from the massive electronic-surveillance effort to bureaucratic infighting between rival U.S. agencies. This is an outstanding work of reportorial journalism, too: in the epilogue, Bowden drops tantalizing hints that it was an American--not a Colombian--who delivered the killing shot to Pablo in 1993. Readers looking for a real-life thriller--or any kind of thriller, for that matter--won't do much better than Killing Pablo.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 10 Jan 2013 13:56:33 -0500)
"Killing Pablo is the inside story of the brutal rise and violent fall of Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whose criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage - a reign of terror that would end only with his death. In an intense, up-close account, best-selling author and award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes the never-before-revealed details of how U.S. operatives covertly led the sixteen-month manhunt." "Drawing on unprecedented access to the soldiers, field agents, and officials involved in the chase, as well as hundreds of pages of top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden creates a gripping narrative that reads as if it were torn from the pages of a military technothriller. At every phase, he brings to life the men who brought the drug lord down. There is the Colombian president, Cesar Gaviria, afraid for his life and the future of his nation, who is forced to do the unthinkable: allow a foreign military to operate within his country's borders. There is the U.S. ambassador, Morris D. Busby, who brings in the most sophisticated surveillance team in the world, code-named Centra Spike, and the best team of manhunters, the mysterious Delta Force. And there is the leader of the Colombian forces, Colonel Hugo Martinez, an incorruptible man who lives under constant threat during the drug lord's reign - and whose own son plays a critical role on the fateful day when Pablo is finally found."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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