The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel
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The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  671 ratings  ·  81 reviews
"I have many scars. Some of them are physical, but many more are scars on my soul. A bomb sent to kill me while I was in a maximum security prison has made me blind, yet now I see the world more clearly than I have ever seen it before. I have lived an incredible adventure. I watched as my brother, Pablo Escobar, became the most successful criminal in history, but also a he...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 25th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2009)
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Rob Maynard
Escobar's book is one of the strangest I've read, simultaneously acknowledging the damage done in Columbia by his brother's work while at the same time defending his brother's right to be the king of cocaine and a hero to many to this very day in his homeland. Roberto Escobar had a job and a life on the 'legit' side of things before he became his brother's money man. It's fascinating to read his disillusionment when he realizes that joining the cocaine business and hiding billions of dollars for...more
I am probably the worst person to review this book. I know my Opinion will not be the Popular idea, I may be Biases on the subject.... > >

I think this book shows a side of Pablo Escobar that not many knew, nor seen. He Showed us who his brother was, not the Character people portray him as. He Himself states many times that "he was not a saint but he was not the devil neither"....I was very excited to read this book for the place setting, My Grand-Mother took her children (my mom was...more
The details were what was most interesting in this book to me - the fact that they spent $2500 a month on rubber bands to hold their money together. That they lost about 10% of their cash each year to moisture damage, misplacement, or because it was eaten by rats.

The sheer volume of money involved is staggering.
I'm too young to recall when all this went down in the early '90s, but I did find myself feeling compassion towards Pablo, however dark his bad side may have been.

The narrator, Pablo's...more
Wow! This book started off well but ended in a huge disappointment.

Alas the author did not tell the whole story and made Pablo Escobar look like an innocent hero who was simply running a harmless business. While in in reality he was the head of a ruthless organization who's only goal was to make money irrespective of who got in their way.

If you read the history and lived through the times one can only conclude that Pablo was a dangerous amoral killer who ruthlessly clawed his way to the top of...more
Mind-boggling. The story is fascinating, even though it’s obvious that some details were “laundered”. After all, this is a man who does not think he has committed any crime, other than being the brother of the most infamous drug trafficker ever. To a certain extent, I was ok with the fact that some of the events were going to be white-washed. Roberto has to protect the image of his brother as much as he can. Most brothers would. What the reader ends up with is the admittance of some events, but...more
Ian Kemp
Pablo Escobar - famous in the West mainly for giving Columbian and US authorities the slip on many occasions. His name evokes the larrikin archetype of the crafty rebel, up there along with Ned Kelly, and the Scarlet Pimpernel, though whether his name evokes the same feelings in Spanish speakers is questionable (his name translates as "Paul Brush").

This book is a major contribution to the mythmaking process, as well as being an apologia for Pablo and his brother Robert. Why, says Robert, they ne...more
Tom M
An autobiography of Roberto Escobar, the brother of the infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who gives first person information and anecdotes about the rise and fall of the Medellín drug cartel.

Prior to reading this book I'd only known vaguely the Escobar name in the drug smuggling world. Roberto's accounts give vivid details of the inner workings of the Medellín cartel. Naturally it can be assumed that there is always room for exaggerations and lies when dealing with a former high ranking drug...more
Andrew Bourne
Not good, but it does manage to afford a reader some degree of specificity and access to the Escobars during both hardship and wealth. Although much is surely confabulated and desperate to apologize, forgive, and explain any moral trespasses, the official story is just as mussed and untrustworthy. The violence is mostly glossed, and Roberto's self-consoling humanitarianism is writ large. But any person's memory does this, especially when weighted with guilt, their own or a loved one's, revising...more
Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire
On my last trip to the Library I visited a location that was extremely small with a very tiny collection. It didn't have any of the books on my list but then this random book caught my eye & I'm pretty happy about taking a chance on it. The book is written by Roberto Escobar, who was both the Brother & Personal Accountant for Pablo Escobar, the Infamous Cocaine Dealer who controlled the Medellin Cartel. The book is almost more of a Biography on him, ha! Actually, quite a bit. Learning ab...more
Joel Ungar
Ok, let's be honest here. I graduated with a degree in accounting 25 years ago. I go to the library and over the years see all sorts of medical intrigue and legal intrigue books. Never once do you see a book about an accountant. So when I saw a book called "The Accountant's Story" I had to pick it up.

My hope for a book that features an accountant as hero is still not met.

That being said, this was a very disturbing book. More than 15 years after the death of his brother, Roberto Escobar seems t...more
This book is the story of Pablo Escobar, Medellin drug cartel leader, as told by his brother, Roberto, who served as Pablo's chief accountant.

Overall, I was disappointed by this book. The biggest problem I had with it was the wandering narrative. It was written as I suspected it was told: as a story recounted regardless of the chronological occurrence of events. The retelling followed a rough timeline, beginning with Pablo's exploits in the smuggling business (which he was involved in prior to t...more
I was not yet ten years old when Pablo Escobar was killed/ possibly killed himself as his brother suggests in this book, so the story of the Medellin cartel is not one that I was very familiar with prior to this book. It occupies that strange space in time--too long ago for me to know it as news, too recent for me to have learned it as history. That said, even I can tell that this is a very biased account, written by the brother of the Colombian drug lord in question.

Still, Pablo Escobar is an...more
This is the story of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia, as told by his brother Roberto. It was fascinating to read what his life was like, how originally the cocaine business didn't deal in violence, and how it was both different and the same from the legend that grew up around him. It seems that history likes to pick a target; Pablo was blamed for violence that he didn't perpetrate, though his life was far from free of violence. He did what he promised for the poor...more
Fred Bartlett Jr.
This was an ok book...slanted by a brothers POV. The book reads slow, always talks about how the government screwed over the cocaine dealers. I am not a liberal but there was tons of blame to go around and one person is not the center of the drug war...that is obvious.

It does provide a great look behind the curtain and starts a debate about the US involvement in other countries business.
Adam K
I wasn't planning on reading another book in NC after Blue Highways, but I noticed this on the library's new release shelf, and decided to check it out.

Roberto Escobar was the brother and accountant to Pablo Escobar, one of the most infamous drug traffickers in history. This is the first-hand account of their lives, specifically addressing a lot of the myths brought about through propaganda and the course of time. It's a story of extremes, from the amounts of money exchanged through cocaine traf...more
An okay read, it was fairly interesting hearing another side to the Pablo Escobar story from someone who knew him but I questioned quite a bit of the story with what seemed like a few white lies told to cover some truths. It was an easy read but that was probably down to the fact that it felt like each paragraph was a continuous monologue from the author. Worth a read if you're interested in how the cocaine business started in Colombia but 'Killing Pablo' by Mark Bowden was a much better book in...more
This book suffers hugely from the author's desire to portray Pablo as an innocent victim and a noble outlaw. I also agree with other peoples' comments about the wandering narrative -- it's all over the place. But I still really enjoyed it, largely because I find the political situation in Colombia so fascinating. I would almost always rather read a whitewashed book written by a criminal than a journalistic account of a crime syndicate. Both are usually wrong on many counts, and clearly biased, b...more
I got really interested in this book after watching the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary about Pablo Escobar and the Colombian national soccer team in 1994, which was incredible. I'd heard of this book before and wanted to read it, but I had it specifically recommended by a friend shortly after watching the doc. Escobar's story really is remarkable, and his brother has and is willing to share so many amazing things he had first-hand knowledge of. Not surprisingly, he's sympathetic toward his brother,...more
John Mcgee
A look through rose tinted spectacles at life the Medellin Cartel. It to brushes over the fact that this was a violent criminal organisation and attempts to portray Pablo Escobar as some sort of modern day Robin Hood.
I just sort of lost interest in the book. The idea for the book was a good one: tell the story from Pablo Escobar's brother's point of view. There just wasn't enough excitement to keep me going.
Was delighted someone so close to Pablo got to write a book like this. it doesn't take long to get into the action (as brothers half the book potentially could have been about growing up etc) but no Roberto gets to the nitty griity in good time.

I was gripped to this book and felt like I was on a roller coaster for most of it. it was a very exciting book and shows how clever these dark souls were.

The attention to detail isn't fantastic in this book which is a shame but the man lived a very uniq...more
Linda M
I got to page 176--and I'm done. I think this story is pretty well summed up on the front leaf of the book. And then painfully bad writing leads us through interesting enough events (outlined on the leaf), continually asserting how he, Roberto Escobar, is not a criminal! Hilarious, if it weren't for the complete, insanely stupid denial of the truth. It is almost as though because he alleges he never pulled a trigger that he has a pristine past. I seriously wearied of the allegations and finally...more
Great story, but a little dull as far as a story goes (as expected) because it's a biography and not a fictional story. In general, I enjoyed the insight and the book.

Story of the Medellin Cartel and Pablo Escobar was fascinating and it's amazing the impact they have had on cocaine in the US. The book and corresponding story was good but I guess the part I didn't love is the fact that the story is told through the brother's (Roberto Escobar) viewpoint and he is clearly trying to make his brother seem like a saint. The guy murdered hundreds of people directly and indirectly and no amount of helping the poor can make up for that. In any case, supposedly there...more
Jim McA
Not the most fact-filled historical crime novel around. Would have liked there to be more in depth background story. It read more like a nostalgic trip down memory lane where the details were glossed over. As well as the writing structure was incredible weak. Often restates things several times verbatim ie. "10% of all the money we made every year was lost to rot and rats." appears 4 times in the first 70 pages. If you just gotta know about Pablo Escobar then go ahead and read it, but don't expe...more
It was interesting to read the other side of the Escobar story.
The Pablo Escobar story as told by his brother and chief accounting officer of the Escobar drug trade. I think it sets a good example of how people fall victim to the ranks of drug dealing; both as dealers and consumers. Too deep into the daily details and personal feelings of the Escobar brothers. The story lost a bit of its "wow" factor in long winded and wandering narratives. Seems like Roberto Escobar is the type of old guy who will keep going as long as somebody with a pulse and ears is nea...more
such a Mastermind,makes me wanna be a drug dealer :D
Elliot Richards
This interested me because of Mark Bowden's excellent Killing Pablo; I wanted to read a different account, something more personal, of Escobar's upbringing and life till his timely end. Bias aside it makes for interesting reading up to a point, then it becomes repetitive and dull. For all the altruistic work that Escobar has done in his home country, recipients whom I've met and would never hear a bad word about Pablo, let's not forget that it came at too high a price for the rest of the world a...more
Well, thus ends my brief foray into non-fiction. This book was ok. Just ok. It is written as if the co-author simply took down transcription from the original storyteller (Roberto Escobar) and typed it up verbatim. It has a weird stream-of-conscience vibe. And, the author clearly does not approve of punctuation. It's a shame. The author obviously had amazing access to get behind-the-scenes info on the crazy successful crime ring that was the Medellin drug cartel. It's a fascinating topic that sh...more
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