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The Power of the Dog (Power of the Dog #1)

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  11,474 Ratings  ·  1,004 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Cartel comes an explosive novel of the drug trade that takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge.

The prequel to The Cartel, and set about 10 years earlier, The Power of the Dog introduces a brilliant cast of characters. Art Keller is an obsessive DEA agent. The Barrera brothers are
Paperback, 542 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 2005)
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Fran Armijo The book is full of scenes of violence, some of that are really disgusting, but they're written in a very natural style and don't go deep. I mean,…moreThe book is full of scenes of violence, some of that are really disgusting, but they're written in a very natural style and don't go deep. I mean, Winslow didnt't a morbid style, don't expect something like American Psycho for example. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 31, 2015 brian rated it it was amazing
CIA, DEA, FBI, NSA, NAFTA, irish mob, italian mafia, cold warriors, sandanistas, contras, high-priced whores, corrupt priests, reagan, bush, giuliani, colombian druglords, mexican cartels, campesinos, gomeros, torture, despair, murder, etc. this is one sprawling motherfuck of a great book. this guy leaves lehane pelecanos and any of his contemporary crimers (um, except ellroy) in the dust. gotta read more of his shit... viva don winslow y donkey don powell!
This is not my favorite Don Winslow novel. I’d put it at #3 after Savages and The Winter of Frankie Machine. However, considering that Winslow has written over a dozen books and for my money is one of the best and most underrated guys working in crime fiction today, getting a bronze medal is pretty damn good.

Running from the mid-1970s until the turn of the century, Winslow’s historical fiction illustrates the difference between the stated public policy of America’s drug war against the covert ba
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing
Everything about Don Winslow’s The Power of the Dog feels familiar. As I read it, pop culture artifacts as different as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, and the techno-thrillers of Tom Clancy popped into my head. The dramatis personae is almost a list of archetypes: the hard-charging, straight-edged DEA agent; the hard-charging agent's charmless boss; and the urbane drug lord who gradually gets his hands dirtier and dirtier. This is a novel where you can see all the movin ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Brandon rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brandon by: Kemper
Shelves: fiction, 2015
Beginning in the late seventies and stretching over a near thirty year period, Don Winslow’s The Power of the Dog follows organized crime and the devastation left in its wake.

In The Power of the Dog, Winslow heavily features the Mexican drug war, but he also tackles the mob in New York City, prostitution in southern California and the communist scare in South America. All of these locations and events share various characters that weave in and out of conflicts like a high speed motorcycle chase
Patrick O'Neil
Mar 07, 2011 Patrick O'Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn, Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog is one hell of an ambitious novel. And it came out in 2005 – why haven't I heard about it until now? Obviously, my fault – I blame the usual culprits of isolation and ignorance. I mean I even read the blurb and didn't think much of the premise, but still decided to give it a go. I was dead wrong – the book rocked, I barely put it down. It's got everything an intense retelling of America's war on drugs needs. It aligns so many real and hypothesized events ...more
Jul 09, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Power of the Dog can sit next to other books that portray the American Dream as dark bruise, such as Libra, American Tabloid, and Dog Soldiers, but it may feel uncomfortable as it lacks their power of prose, depth of character (none of the characters are cartoons though), and stylistic heights: but it does have their ambition and authenticity in its vision of history as double-crosses, compromises, and bloody spectacle. But this unfair as this is really a thriller at heart (especially its finale ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I don't read much science fiction anymore. When it was great, it was all about man and the Big Idea, or First Contact. It was all about the discovery of revealing concepts and bizarre things. But after the 80s, Speculative Fiction, as 'they' preferred to call it, brought more of a social consciousness to the stories and explored political structures and how they affected whatever new world we were in.
It didn't take long for me to get sick of it and abandon the genre.

What the...? Did Bill get his
The Power of the Dog: Machismo, Madness, & Morality

Don Winslow has written the epic "Dope" novel in The Power of the Dog. It is a mean, dirty story where it is not always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

This is not a mere cop and crime story. Winslow goes much deeper than that. While not strictly historical fiction, because Winslow tends to change the names to protect the guilty, and omit the names to blur which Presidential Administration particular acts may be attributed to, c
Feb 14, 2015 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
A dark novel by Californian Don Winslow about the never-ending "war on drugs" and the various efforts of the U.S. government and its agencies to support or destabilize political regimes in Latin America (a/k/a geopolitical meddling), from the mid-70s thru the late 1990s Most of the novel centers on a Mexican crime family, an honorable DEA agent who slowly loses his soul, and a few Mafioso from NY. Well-researched but also extremely violent with repeated, cataclysmic collateral damage. However, t ...more
Psicologia ridotta all’osso (un osso molto rosicchiato).
Grandi descrizioni di quelle che mi viene da definire scenografie (interni ed esterni). Si tratta di un autore e di un libro che sono entrambi in forte prossimità cinematografica.
Dialoghi curati.
Azione, azione, azione.
Violenza, crudeltà, sangue, torture: Tony Montana in confronto è un chierichetto.

Winslow è stato un investigatore privato, consulente per studi legali e compagnie di assicurazione, esperto di tecniche
Oct 23, 2007 Ryan rated it it was ok
I'm torn on this one because on the one hand, the story is pretty solid. Winslow really unpacks the bureaucracy that makes the war on drugs so snarly. By the time he's through, it's pretty clear which agencies are involved and why and how they're all connected.

Unfortunately, he also writes lines like: "Then the elevator doors slide open and water pours out, like a scene from a bad, grotesque horror film."

And he does it A LOT.

Winslow's good at distilling information, even generating a pretty swe
May 17, 2013 Harry rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This is not a novel I would compliment for it's stylistic prose, its character development, or it's originality in terms of plot: this is a novel that were it to be true is nothing short of a devastating indictment of the War on drugs. My rating of this book is based on its subject matter and its research and how it affects me as a reader.

Normally, I throw up my eyebrows in quizzical fashion when reading reviews that complain about the lack of verisimilitude, or that the author somehow has inven
Mar 23, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok
This one started out great, but with about 150 pages to go (it's well over 500), I found my interest waning. Characters started flattening out, repetitive gun battles where it seemed the major characters had an almost hobbit-like ability to survive, and a general sense of looseness as the epic subject (the drug wars) seemed to go beyond Winslow's pulpish grasp. There are a number of awesome, blood soaked scenes. A favorite of mine was early on where an Irish enforcer tries to lean too hard on a ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Epic in story and substance, THE POWER OF THE DOG is the crime equivalent of a broad spanning fantasy novel. Told over a thirty year time frame, Winslow's masterful tale of cross border drug running, corrupt cops, and gangsters is much more than a bloody swipe at alphabet agency politicking, with themes comprising vengeance, betrayal, misguided justice, and the illusion of redemption rife.

Through Art Keller, Winslow delivers a rich and deeply satisfying plot driven by a tainted protagonist whose
Dec 30, 2015 Atram_sinprisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me maravilla cómo Don Winslow ha sido capaz de crear este universo con tal complejidad de personajes y tramas, y que logre que el lector no se sienta perdido.

Novela dura, con cadáveres a mansalva, con droga a raudales y mentiras a destajo. Una novela sobre los cárteles, pero sobre todo sobre los seres humanos capaces de vender su alma al mejor postor.
Comprare libri e poi aspettare anni prima di leggerli a volte può essere controproducente: Il potere del cane di Don Winslow è dal 2009 che si trova sugli scaffali della mia libreria, e nel frattempo lo vedevo sempre più collezionare voti altissimi e recensioni entusiaste. Un libro che mi *doveva* piacere (era piaciuto a tutti!), e forse questa aspettativa gli ha giocato contro, perché mi ha spinto a guardarlo con occhio iper-critico. O forse passare da una striscia di letture più "leggere" a un ...more
Jul 30, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, noir
Salva l’anima dalla spada, salva il cuore dal potere del cane

Ho letto molti commenti entusiastici su questo romanzo fiume. Un ottimo noir che analizza il mondo del narcotraffico tra Stati Uniti, Messico e paesi del Centro America, seguendo le strade tortuose della droga e delle armi che salgono e scendono tra i continenti in un intricato nodo di intrecci tra CIA, governo americano, DEA, polizia federale messicana, mafia italoamericana, movimenti comunisti sudamericani, Chiesa cattolica, Opus Dei
Elizabeth A
May 18, 2016 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016
Book blurb: This explosive novel takes you deep inside the drug trade, a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge. From the streets of New York City to Mexico City and Tijuana to the jungles of Central America, this is the war on drugs like you've never seen it.

I listened to the audiobook, which is superbly narrated by Ray Porter.

If you, like me, have often wondered how the multi-billion dollar war on drugs seems to have increased the availability of drugs, you too might find
Feb 13, 2016 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listening to this in audio had the added advantage of listening to some snappy Mexican music at the beginning and end.
I found this pretty riveting and it's a complete indictment of the U.S. War on Drugs. Lest you think the U.S. is serious in wanting to stop drug flow from Mexico and Latin America, read this my friends and your eyes will be opened. That mythical border wall some politicians think is a grand idea will never be built.
I would have loved to follow Winslow around when he did his resea
Jun 03, 2008 Scoobs rated it it was amazing
not much i can say that hasn't been said already.

how 'bout:

"Deliver my soul from the sword.
My love from the power of the dog."

don winslow is the coldest motherfucker who ever walked.
Feb 02, 2011 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a big novel, epic in scope, The Grapes of Wrath of the Mexican drug empire and America's halfhearted fight against it. The Power of the Dog is a thinly-novelized history of the rise of Mexico's drug cartels and the consequent corruption of its society, government, and law enforcement; the involvement of American organized crime families in the drug trade; the look-the-other-way policies of American government and military leaders seeking to preserve the business-friendly status quo in Me ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Ben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Wow. This is ostensibly "fiction" but knowing the 5-6 years of research Winslow did with drug lords, dealers, DEA, CIA, other agencies, etc, it almost reads as nonfiction. In fact I'm tempted to classify it as such. The characters are a disguise for real life.

I know this because I'm somewhat versed in real life on the issue (though not nearly as much as the author) and I know that what he writes as 'fiction', something that could be construed as an incredulous assertion in terms of government c
Jordan McPeek
Dec 01, 2011 Jordan McPeek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Much more than the rise and fall of a drug kingpin story. How does Winslow pack so much history, so much political commentary, so much story into one 500 page thriller? It takes place over about 25 years, tracing the rise of Mexican drug cartels through the eyes of five main characters: an obsessive DEA agent, an Irish hitman for the New York mob, a high-priced California call girl, a maverick yet influential Catholic priest, and the Mexican drug kingpin. Plenty of other fascinating characters c ...more
❆ Crystal ❆
Review for audiobook ~ 5 stars story 5 stars narration.
Story ~ Intense is probably the first word that comes to mind in describing this book. The story begins in 1975 and ends in 2004. It crosses into many countries, US, Mexico, China, Nicaragua, Columbia, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala etc... etc. There's the CIA, DEA, Border police (both sides) Mexican police, Mexican government, prostitutes, Irish mob, and the Italian mob... The Catholic church, FARC... touching on NAFTA, Regan and Bush p
"Se la Guerra alla droga sia un'oscena assurdità o un'assurda oscenità, Art non saprebbe dirlo. Comunque sia, è certamente una farsa: una farsa tragica e sanguinosa. Sopratutto sanguinosa."

Il primo paragone che mi viene in mente è "The Wire", e in effetti lo stile di Winslow è, come sempre, molto cinematografico. Ti butta in mezzo all'azione, ti riempe di fatti, di nomi, di collegamenti e tu non puoi fare altro che continuare a leggere finchè ti ritrovi all'ultima di queste settecento e passa pa
Luis A. Vidorreta
Jun 30, 2015 Luis A. Vidorreta rated it it was amazing
El Poder del Perro me llegó casi de pasada, una recomendación de un amigo que me animó a comprarlo en la librería y a sumarlo a mi pila. Ni siquiera había oído hablar del autor (nada raro porque por aquel entonces era casi desconocido en España) pero cuando lo abrí descubría algo que me impidió dejarlo.
El Poder del Perro nos cuenta la guerra contra las drogas de EEUU en la frontera de México desde los 70 y con la figura de un agente de la DEA como personaje principal.
Don Winslow no se caracteri
Eric Kibler
Nov 30, 2015 Eric Kibler rated it it was amazing
This book does for the War on Drugs what Goodfellas did for the Mob. It offers an engrossing, thrilling story and also explains how the drug trade/war on drugs (for they are a two-headed beast) work.

Somebody, I forget who, was talking recently about "process fiction", a story that educates about a business or occupation. This book educates you about many occupations and the entire economy that those occupations are part of.

But it's not like going to school. It's thrilling! None of the characters
Benoit Lelièvre
Sep 06, 2015 Benoit Lelièvre rated it it was amazing
I don't see how it could've went any better than it did, really. Jeebus Cripes that book was good. Mexican drug cartels are often taken as token evil in literature, but the way Don Winslow unpacks a wealth of knowledge about their inception, rise to power and turn to worse as he builds characters and tells an epic story is nothing short of spectacular.

I've finished that book in a nutty six hours binge because I couldn't stop myself. It's a thick novel, but it's compulsively readable. SAVAGES mig
Sep 07, 2015 Xabi1990 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winslow tiene un libro que se llama "Salvajes" ... pero este libro sí es realmente salvaje.

La sinopsis os dice de que va. Yo sólo os añado que se me puso mal cuerpo en varios pasajes, así de cruda y fielmente te presenta esas salvajadas por parte de las mafias de la droga. Espeluznante.
Rex Fuller
Jun 25, 2015 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it
Thoroughly entertaining. Deftly disguises a lot of fiction with a few facts. So completely trashes the war on drugs you want to take a shower after reading it.
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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death An
More about Don Winslow...

Other Books in the Series

Power of the Dog (2 books)
  • The Cartel

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“You don’t let them knock you out, you make them knock you out. You make them break their fucking hands knocking you out, you let them know that they’ve been in a fight, you give them something to remember you by every time they look in a mirror.” 23 likes
“The Americans take a product that literally grows on trees and turn it into a valuable commodity. Without
them, cocaine and marijuana would be like oranges, and instead of making billions smuggling it, I’d be making pennies doing stoop labor in some California field, picking it.”
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