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Paperback Killing Pablo : The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw Book

ISBN: 0142000957

ISBN13: 9780142000953

Killing Pablo : The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Delta Force: Just takin out the trash.....

"Killing Pablo" by Mark Bowden Bowden is a damn good non-fiction author. I read "Blackhawk Down" first, so reading "Killing Pablo" was a forgone conclusion. In a world where politically correctness dictates that in confronting Evil, we should fold our hands, bow our head and say "God Bless You" or worse, go read some academic study, Bowden gives an account of confronting Evil with the tools and methods that Evil merits. Bowden gives a thorough background on Colombia, then explains the drug cartels and how Pablo rose to the top by the sheer volume of cocaine he shipped, and thereafter, nearly brought down an entire nation through terror. It is a chilling account of terror to read of Pablo's car bombings and the murder and maiming of innocents. I now understand how the vigilante group, Los Pepes was forced to begin assassinating all the supporting personnel in Pablo's organization. Whether lawyers, real estate agents, etc....Los Pepes eliminated them. At least somebody in the world isn't so dang dumb they can't find their own hind end with a mirror and a six-cell flashlight. Los Pepes did it, and did it righteously. America's Delta Force was involved, so if you found them interesting in "Black Hawk Down" you will enjoy reading about their role here also. There's good info on the U.S. State Department, and how diplomatic relations affected methods, procedures, and involvement of various Nations and entities. A great read. You will enjoy it. One reviewer suggested that Mark Bowden could have told the entire story in 100 pages or less, and that the book is boring because of the many "WE-ALMOST-GOT-HIM" stories. I suggest the following, in answer to that charge. Except that the "we almost got him stories" are interspersed with the accounts of the Los Pepes assassinations of anyone doing business with Pablo. Except that the "we almost got him stories" were interspersed with the accounts of tracking down Pablo's paid spies in the Colombian military forces, police, and government. Except that the "we almost got him stories" are interspersed with the accounts of Delta Force's technology and methods, which are compelling. Except that the "we almost got him stories" are interspersed with the accounts of the difficulties in getting the Columbian military to actually have the guts to take action and go get this guy. Except that Mark Bowden takes the time to educate the reader about the unique history of the Colombian cities and countryside, which are as distinctly different as a modern European city and the wild west badlands. Except that Mark Bowden takes the time to inform the reader about the human elements involved in the story: the government officials (honest & dishonest), the wealthy, the poor, the communist rebels in the countryside, the bandits, the drug culture, and tells how Pablo nearly controlled the entire government of a modern democrat

Hard to put down (in either sense)

What makes this a good story is that the prospects for good to prevail seem utterly, desperately hopeless. To couch it in elementary terms, there are good guys, bad guys, and other bad guys. The bad guys are at odds with each other, and the good guys take full advantage of that. This could be the ultimate case study in expediency and fighting fire with fire. It's a quick read anyway, but once the first ray of hope comes, it becomes absolutely riveting! This book chronicles the rise and fall of a slimy, duplicitous little two-bit car thief who bullied his way into cocaine trafficking and amassed wealth beyond his wildest dreams by being in the right place after murdering any potential competitors. It is also a heartbreaking account of how he held a nation hostage with a terror campaign. There is a lot of insight into electronic surveillance (it's positively creepy what they can do now) and the United States government vis-a-vis the intelligence community. What overstepping of legal bounds there was is described in detail. The title hints of violence and the book delivers that in spades without even trying, so beware if you are easily upset. There is a photo of Escobar's fully-bearded corpse that resembles a pudgy werewolf. There is no happy ending to this bloody affair. I consider this essential reading for anyone commenting on South American politics and the rebel groups (FARC and ELN) because they are intertwined with the cocaine trade. There are many insights into "how things are down there," plus inspiring accounts of a few incredibly brave, principled Colombians, almost all dead now, who dared to stand up to Escobar's staggeringly pervasive organization. Tidbits: (1) Bowden stops just shy of making this connection, but I believe Fidel Castro had everything to do with Jorge Gaitan's assassination in 1948. (2) There is a brilliant paragraph on page 42 characterizing the transition of cocaine's socially obligatory status among elite/"hip" Americans in the 1970's to becoming the outcast scum crack in the 1980's. I hold authors to high standards of English and journalism and after approaching this book critically, I must recommend it. Will be reading more Bowden. (Although, regarding the History Channel video, I found his mis-pronunciation Spanish names and words annoying.) PABLO ESCOBAR WAS NOT A HERO or a legend, as some of the poor around Medellin believe, but a killer of toddlers.

Coca Killer

KILLING PABLO is the story of the rise, hunt, fall and death of Pablo Escobar, the chief of the Medellin Cocaine Cartel. Mark Bowden (BLACK HAWK DOWN) is gifted in bringing essentially unknown tales into the public eye, and here he does it again, dramatically. His ability to take the hidden and twisted threads of covert operations and weave a complete story from them is impressive. Pablo, as Bowden refers to him throughout, was a small-time hood who rose to true if notorious greatness on a ladder stained with blood. At the peak of his influence he had a net worth of billions of dollars. Pablo cultivated a jolly demeanor and, in truth, lacked couth, though he could be personally disarming. In dress, he preferred white velcro-strap Nike sneakers and blue jeans. He was short and plump. He was hardly the image of the "Don Pablo" he wanted to be. He was easy to underestimate, as the world discovered. At his zenith, he had all but convinced the ruling oligarchy of Colombia that coca cultivation and processing was a growth industry, even if frowned upon by staid norteamericanos with no taste for trend. In 1983 Pablo was elected a Congressional alternate from his state of Antioquia, ruled Medellin with an iron fist, and was a serious contender for the Presidency of his nation. Ten years later he was dead. Pablo Escobar was a study in contradictions. He was 'the most Wanted man in the world' who spent most of his criminal life in the open. A sociopathic megalomaniac, he saw nothing bizarre in blowing up planes and buildings and killing hundreds in the course of targeting one man. He was a devoted husband and father with a penchant for seducing teenage girls. Unlike some other crimelords who habitually restrained themselves from killing 'noncombatants,' Pablo gloried in taking the lives of his enemies' friends and relatives no matter how uninvolved they were in the drug trade. As a result, no one in Colombia was beyond his reach, and even the U.S. Ambassador had to live in a special security vault while Pablo was at large. A man who victimized others constantly, he saw himself as a victim of the State. A man on the outside he always wished to be on the inside and bought, bribed and murdered his way into positions of authority. A compleat robber baron, he spoke the rhetoric of Che Guevara, and spent hundreds of millions to rebuild Medellin into a major metropolis and made its citizens into some of the most fortunate of Colombianos. To this day, Pablo is lauded in certain quarters of Colombia as a Robin Hood-type character, but Bowden makes clear that Pablo's hero image was carefully constructed and disseminated through his vast public relations apparatus to insure his own protection. Pablo was a man incapable of restraint who ultimately overreached himself. Although he had most of Colombia's government in his pocket, he failed to appreciate the need for subtlety in his game of control. For Pablo, the government, the police, and ultimately the


Killing Pablo is a hard-hitting book that truly represents the brutal reality of the war in Colombia. As a Special Forces Master Sergeant with multiple tours in Colombia I can honestly say that Mark Bowden has done a masterful job of encapsulating this conflagration by describing the events that led to the rise and fall of one of its most notorious figures-Pablo Escobar. Bowden starts off by giving a brief history of the war in Colombia, starting with La Violencia, and then of course the current Narco war that is currently consuming Colombia. The events are taken from various sources and Mr. Bowden does a superb job of describing, in detail, what lengths the US and Colombia went through to take down one of the largest criminal empires in history. The book ends with questions that we as American should be asking ourselves. Is it worth the effort - in the name of National Security- to selectively target foreign citizens for assassination? My conclusion is incomplete. However, I will say that the removal of Pablo Escobar was nothing more than a tactical victory in a war Colombia and the United States are losing strategically. This book is a must for Special Operations Soldiers, Latin American Historians, Law Enforcement Officers, and anyone who is involved in the policy decisions concerning the US war on drugs.
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