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Killing Pablo : The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw
Killing Pablo is the inside story of the brutal rise and violent fall of Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whose criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage--a reign of terror that would end only with his death. In an intense, up-close account, best-selling author and award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes the never-before-revealed details of how U.S. operatives covertly led the sixteen-month manhunt.
Drawing on unprecedented access to the soldiers, field agents, and officials involved in the chase, as well as hundreds of pages of top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar?s intercepted phone conversations, Bowden creates a gripping narrative that reads as if it were torn from the pages of a military technothriller. At every phase, he brings to life the men who brought the drug lord down. There is the Colombian president, C?sar Gaviria, afraid for his life and the future of his nation, who is forced to do the unthinkable: allow a foreign military to operate within his country's borders. There is the U.S. ambassador, Morris D. Busby, who brings in the most sophisticated surveillance team in the world, code-named Centra Spike, and the best team of manhunters, the mysterious Delta Force. And there is the leader of the Colombian forces, Colonel Hugo Martinez, an incorruptible man who lives under constant threat during the drug lord's reign--and whose own son plays a critical role on the fateful day when Pablo is finally found.
Bowden's last book, the New York Times best-seller Black Hawk Down, was hailed by critics (David Halberstam called it "a brilliant book, a heartbreaking story wonderfully well told--it's everything I admire") and became a finalist for the National Book Award. In Killing Pablo, Bowden's reportage achieves a new level, his narrative an epic scope. Action-packed and unputdownable, Killing Pablo is a tour de force of investigative journalism and a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.
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 (www.killingpablo.com). Expect healthy sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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April 24, 2001
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