Jason's Reviews > Killing Pablo : The Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History

Killing Pablo  by Mark Bowden
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's review
Jul 31, 2014

really liked it
Read from October 06 to 20, 2011

Thoroughly engrossing account of the manhunt for Pablo Escobar in the late-80s/early-90s. The jacket promises a book that follows "the rise and fall" of Escobar, but what is focused on most is Colombia's efforts to imprison/assassinate him in the later stages of his life. In this book's timeline, his ascent is swift and hardly detailed; his actions during the Great Violence of the 80s and Escobar's terrorist actions in the late 80s and early 90s is discussed most.

Still, Bowden does a fantastic job detailing the atmosphere of fear among the Bogota elite and the common Colombian citizens, the depth of corruption within a multitude of levels of Colombian authority and the amount of effort it took for an elite multinational force to finally track him down even though he was unwilling (unable?) to leave his home country.

Toward the end of the book, Bowden also editorializes a bit, noting that the Bush and Clinton administrations and the Colombian government poured millions of dollars into finding and capturing Escobar and seizing drug shipments and that in the end all that effort had little effect (Bowden notes that in the early 90s the street price of cocaine was down while the purity was up).

All in all, an engrossing book that tackles issues bigger than a manhunt for one outlaw — Bowden delves into international politics and the lengths the United States can go to protect its interests abroad, which is an ongoing concern. Recommended.

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Reading Progress

10/08/2011 page 98
26.0% "Well written and intriguing"

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