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Killing Pablo

Killing Pablo
Mark Bowden

April 1st, 2001

Books on Cassette

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (220 votes)

Released: 2001-04-01

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Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden


Includes enhanced CD with exclusive video of the actual hunt for Pablo Escobar

On July 22, 1992, Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar walked out of the luxurious prison he built for himself and disappeared into the Colombian jungle. His audacious escape destroyed the nation's tenuous ceasefire with its infamous narcos, and pushed it into open war with the Medellin Drug cartel.

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.

Killing Pablo is the inside story of the brutal rise and violent fall of Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar. Bowden's gripping narrative sounds as if it were torn from the pages of a military technothriller. Action-packed and unputdownable, Killing Pablo is a tour de force of investigative journalism and a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.

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Editorial Review

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 [1988], 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.

Book Details

Author: Mark Bowden Publisher: Simon & Schuster A.. Binding: Audio Cassette Language: English

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