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Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Mark Bowden

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Descriptions du produit's Best of 2001

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.

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the bestseller Black Hawk Down, which depicted the U.S. military's involvement in Somalia, Bowden hits another home run with his chronicle of the manhunt for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. He traces the prevalence of violence in Colombian history as background, then launches into the tale of the dramatic rise and fall of "Don Pablo," as he was known. Packed with detail, the book shows how Escobar, a pudgy, uneducated man who smoked marijuana daily, ruthlessly built the infamous Medellin cartel, a drug machine that eventually controlled much of Colombian life. As Bowden shows, the impotence of the Colombian government left a void readily filled by Escobar's mafia. While not ignoring the larger picture e.g., the terrible drug-related murders that wracked the South American country in the late 1980s and early 1990s Bowden never loses sight of the human story behind the search for Escobar, who was finally assassinated in 1993, and the terrible toll the hunt took on many of its main players.. There's a smoking gun here: Bowden charges that U.S. special forces were likely involved in helping some of Colombia's other drug lords assassinate perhaps more than a hundred people linked to Escobar. There's no doubt, according to Bowden, that the U.S. government was involved in the search for Escobar after a 1989 airplane bombing that killed 100 and made him, in Bowden's words, "Public Enemy Number One in the world." This revelation highlights one of Bowden's many journalistic accomplishments here: he shows how the search for Escobar became an end in itself. (May 8)Forecast: Bowden will go on a monster tour (about two dozen cities) to promote this BOMC selection, which also has its own Web site ( Expect healthy sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 5768 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 307 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0871137836
  • Editeur : Atlantic Books (1 octobre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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75 internautes sur 80 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Explosive! 3 mai 2001
Par Robert S. Campbell - Publié sur
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.
48 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Serious Account of the Grim Realities of the Drug War 30 mai 2001
Par Newt Gingrich - Publié sur
Bowden has done it again. This is not quite the work of genius that Black Hawk Down was but this is a very engrossing and serious account of a manhunt that came to symbolize many of the challenges we face in the drug war. Pablo Escobar was the richest and most powerful cocaine dealer in the world. He acquired pretensions to enter politics and turn Colombia into a personal fiefdom. The United States government allied with the Colombian government in what became a multi-year campaign that was far harder and far more dangerous than any one would have believed when it began.
In the end Pablo was dead but the drug trade was as powerful and as profitable as ever. Its center of activity had moved from Medellin to Cali and the newer generation of drug lords had learned a lot from watching (and in fact participating in) the campaign against Pablo. In many ways the Cali cartel became the ally of the Colombian and American governments jointly seeking to get rid of Escobar.
This book raises serious questions about the nature of American involvement in the third world. When combined with Black Hawk Down you get a realistic pair of assessments of the limitations of American power and the nature of the grim realities we are trying to change in much of the third world.
This is a very helpful but sobering book for anyone interested in the drug war, in America's role in the world or in a recent skirmish with fascinating ramifications.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of Summer's Better Reads 20 mai 2001
Par Steve Iaco - Publié sur
I purchased "Killing Pablo" solely on the strength of Mark Bowden's previous stellar work, "Black Hawk Down." While "Pablo" isn't quite up to the standard of "Black Hawk" (one of the best books I've read in the past five years), it is nevertheless an engaging read that is at once informative and entertaining.
"Pablo" is Pablo Escobar, the ruthless Colombian drup kingpin who, by the late 1980s, had amassed one of the world's largest -- and certainly most illicit -- fortunes. Mr. Bowden recounts the story of how the notorious international narco-gangster was finally brought to heel by a combination of Colombian law enforcement agencies, the U.S. DEA and Army Delta Force (which provided critical training and surveillance technology), and importantly, Escobar's rivals in the cocaine cartel. The vigilante terrorism visited upon the infrastructure of Escobar's empire by his cocaine cartel rivals (equally as vicious as Pablo himself) -- with the tacit sanction of the Colombian government -- was the critical factor in the eventual tracking down and killing of Pablo following an off-and-on-again three-year manhunt.
This book is included in the "Wall Street Journal's" review (Friday, May 18) of the better reads of the Summer of 2001. That judgment gets no quarrel from this reader.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Coca Killer 27 mars 2005
Par Konrei - Publié sur
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 United States were just rival cartels to be bossed and intimidated. Never realizing how badly he had outmatched himself, he became the instrument of his own destruction.

His fall came when he simply walked out of the prison he himself had built and staffed after reaching a ridiculously one-sided plea bargain with the Colombian government to stop intra-Cartel violence. Once Pablo escaped, the government of Colombia was virtually forced into a "hunter-killer" mode of operations against him, based on his own untrustworthiness.

Aided by the United States, Colombia hunted Pablo, at first with a notable lack of zeal. Too many ranking Colombians were beholden to him. But as Pablo retaliated by attacking innocent civilians throughout the country, his public support waned and his Cartel associates faded away. Pablo soon found himself hunted by Colombian and American Special Ops troops, and a terrifying vigilante group "Los Pepes," made up of people who had been victimized by him, Cali Cartel competitors, and other shadowy individuals. As Bowden cynically says, we need to "surmise" who they were.

Pablo's fall changed nothing. Cali became the new cocaine epicenter and the government's ties to the drug kingpins were, if anything, even stronger. But Pablo was a clear target. Moreover, he was a man who simply couldn't stop himself from killing. It was decided at the highest levels that, like a mad dog, Pablo needed to be destroyed.

Pablo died ignominiously, shot by a government-backed Death Squad, with his overhanging belly on prominent display in the cover photograph of the book. His hunters shaved his moustache into a Hitlerian brush for fun. Their smiles are both bitter and mocking. That one photograph, hanging in many government offices, Colombian and American, is Pablo's legacy.

Bowden obviously has no love for Pablo Escobar, but he is also clearly equivocal about the methods and results of killing Pablo. The vast energy put into finding and eliminating this one man certainly never blunted the drug culture, but it did rid the world of one of the most powerful and amoral figures in modern history.

There's a lesson here for the post-9/11 world.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Delta Force: Just takin out the trash..... 7 mai 2006
Par Bruce Bain - Publié sur
"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 democratic nation.

******************************** But there's more about author Mark Bowden that I must mention. Bowden has philosophical depth, and it comes out in brief and brilliant paragraphs, here and there throughout his book. Bowden can show the blind stupidity, the refusal to act when action is called for, the cowardice, the greed, the political torpidity that stifles men of action, and does so with an acute description.
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