Over the coming days and weeks, the United States launched a joint military and intelligence operation with the Colombian government, assembling a team of expert personnel and an arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry and surveillance technology the likes of which the world had never seen. Their mission: to track down Pablo.
But this time, they knew it would not be enough to just capture Escobar. This time, they would have to finish the job. This time, they were going to kill him.
©2001 Mark Bowden, All Rights Reserved; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc.; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"A gripping investigation...fascinating." (Booklist)
"Bowden hits another home run..." (Publishers Weekly)
"A master of narrative journalism." (The New York Times Book Review)
As somebody who uses Audible to make my commute bearable, I have the tendency to gravitate mostly towards mindless fiction to make the time pass... and base my reviews primarily on how successful books do with that criteria.
That being said... this is a book that isn't mindless, but still kept me captivated. It's a facinating look into both American policies in Central America as well as techniques that are used in tracking people. I have thought about this book frequently during the recent hunts for Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. I was very surprised how hit-and-miss the technologies seem to be.
The author does a good job in presenting the details of the situations without making personal judgement on the characters involved, but does so in a manner that isn't school-bookish.
This is a story worthy of Robert Ludlum or Elmore Leonard. Intrigue, deception, suspense, global politics and fantasy -- plus it's actually true! Provides a wild inside view to the cocaine trade, Columbian politics and the bizarre world that money can create. Pablo emerges as an almost mythic figure, on the one hand revered by his associates and public, and on the other a frighteningly brutal indescriminate killer. Without giving away the story, I'll tell you that there are real parallels with the Elliot Ness story of the untouchables. A great read (listen).
Bowden is one of the few authors who can read his own work and keep you intrigued. The trade-off is that he does sound like a journalist rather than a story teller.
You won't find a more well-researched account of the drug wars up close and personal. A fascinating read and one of the books I found myself listening to in my driveway.
My only beef - it's abridged...
Mark Bowden's writing on the modern history of Columbia and the horror that engulfed the entire country for a decade is an astonishing piece of work.
This is a gripping work of non-fiction and is a truly powerful insight to one of the world's most notorious terrorists, Pablo Escobar.
A huge thumbs up.
Excellent book that not only tells an exciting story, but also delves into Columbia's past and provides some insight into how a manical person such as Pablo Escabar can rise to such power and in some eyes prestige
I don't share the other reviewers' enthusiasm for this book. The author is also the reader...and he does not bring a great deal of enthusiasm to the table. The story reads like a chronicle. In all, it's a rather stiff, uninspired timeline of Pablo Escobar's life.
Dad, tech executive, frequent flyer and driver and avid audiobook listener. Follow me on Twitter at @blakesteck.
In my opinion this is Bowden's best work. His detail and research is unparalleled and the story itself couldn't be any more wild if it was fiction. Bowden offers a gripping look inside the many faces of Escobar, from the ruthless cartel boss that waged war on the Columbian state to the concerned family man who fought fiercely to keep his family safe.
The wealth, violence and details are shocking and Bowden's ability to organize so many narratives and perspectives into a single, cohesive timeline makes for one of the best non-fiction titles I've ever read. Having both the audiobook and the paperback, the abridged audiobook doesn't exclude much. As for the audiobook, Bowden's delivery, often direct and with disregard for political correctness, exponentially improves the quality of the audiobook as you get the sense that the man who did the research is telling you a great campfire story.
The author does a good job of weaving together the many moving parts that were involved with trying to bring Pablo Escobar to "justice." I like when authors read their own books, and this author does it fairly well. It was also interesting to see some current in-the-news names popping up in the roles they held 15 years ago.
The story is inherently interesting- the rise and fall of one of the most successful, vicious criminals in world history. Bowden's a decent reader, though I would have liked to have gotten this story unabridged. Overall, a brisk, satisfying tale, though one you could get just as well through CNN or the History Channels adaptations.
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