Customer Reviews for

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted July 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I'm old enough to remember and understand very well the hunting

    I'm old enough to remember and understand very well the hunting down and killing of the infamous Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellin cartel. Mark Bowden is an author who knows how to engage his reader into a reporting story. He picks great topics, which helps, but the arch of the story, the people, the level of detail are all expertly handled. Bowden strikes me as one of those authors who can take a story you think you have little interest in and make you interested.

    The story in Killing Pablo is straightforward: The rise of Pablo Escobar, the efforts of the Colombian government to capture him, the ever increasing interest of the United States, beginning with President Ronald Reagan, in Escobar as a part of the war on drugs, and the use of technology that kept Escobar on the run and eventually led to his being found and killed by a special Colombian police force. The story of the rise and fall of a criminal cartel.

    Escobar began building his cocaine empire in the early 1970s and was fabulously wealthy by the late 70s. He was listed several times as one of the richest men in the world with homes and property scattered across the globe. At its height, the Medellin cart was exporting cocaine into the US in stripped down 727s, feeding the cocaine craze of the 1980s. Escobar did not create his wealth by being nice. While charismatic, humorous, and often stoned man was remembered as quiet by many that encountered him (leading to the frequent inability to match the man to his crimes), Escobar and his cohorts were brutal. If bribery did not work, kidnappings and murder were easy choices. The apartments of police officers were bombed, the families of journalists were kidnapped and killed, their bodies messages. Over and over again, Bowden tells the story of men and women assigned to track down or deal with Escobar who are murdered--men and women supposedly assigned to the task in great secret. Escobar's reach, particularly in Medellin was vast. Later, as the hunt narrows in on Escobar, the police task force created to hunt down Escobar, Search Bloc, realizes that one of their officers guarding an entrance to its offices, overhears orders for raids, warns Escobar, who eludes the authority's grasp yet again.

    The Colombian government is wracked by inefficiency, bureaucratic infighting, corruption, and fear. Escobar always seems to escape their clutches because the government simply cannot get its act together. However, what is surprising is that so many did pursue Escobar when he demonstrated time and again an ability to kill them or their family members with impunity. Bowden notes several times where a dozen police are killed in a day. Presidential candidates, judges, lawyers, and journalists perish over and over again. Yet, they trudged on, and Colombia has its heroes in the search for justice.

    With Reagan's war on drugs and then the bombing of the Avianca Flight 203, conducted by Escobar in an attempt to kill a Colombian presidential candidate, were two turning points in this hunt. Reagan's focus allowed for the first active engagement of the US in Colombia by way of a top-secret Army signals surveillance group called, at the time, Centra Spike, along with CIA and DEA participants as well. Centra Spike's primary abilities rested on triangulating communications with ever increasing accuracy (a practice quite easy today...or just use the GPS chip in our smart phones--but a feat of skill and engineering in the 1980s). Centra Spike's role was strictly limited, however. Then the bombing of the Avianca flight allowed President George Bush to classify the hunt for Escobar as a national security issue. Delta Force arrives in Colombia shortly thereafter in a training role for Search Bloc, though rumors persist that Delta Force team members participated actively in raids and even fired the fatal shot on Escobar. 

    Yet, Escobar eludes them. Over and over again, he narrowly escapes. A paramilitary group called Los Pepes begins destroying Escobar's property and targeting his friends and family. Their goal, keep Escobar from disappearing forever. How much was organized by the US and Colombian governments? Officially, nothing. However, Bowden is an expert at charting the appearance of Los Pepes, which implies the US knew more than it has let on, even if less than the rumors suggest. Regardless, Los Pepes was an extra-legal effort that succeeded. And then...a Colombian officer refining their own signals intelligence in an effort to prove they are just as capable as the Americans, stumbles upon Escobar, who perishes in a gun battle with police. Or did he? He died. That much is known. But...well, read this excellent, immersing book to find out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2001

    Great book on Pablo

    This book gives very good insight on Pablo Escobar, his network and his family. As a person who had in-direct connections to Pablo Escobar this book gives very good insight into his entire Empire.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    The subject in this book is Pablo Escobar. He was a cocaine deal

    The subject in this book is Pablo Escobar. He was a cocaine dealer, murderer, and he committed a lot of other smaller crimes but he always seemed to get away with it. As he was building up his empire he was also getting married and having children. Although he was sexually interested in teenage girls and would often hire teenage prostitutes to please him, people always described him as a family man.
    Throughout his life, starting at a young age Pablo Escobar got whatever he wanted. If he wanted someone dead, it would happen but it could never be linked back to him. In my first paragraph I said he was a family man but will being a “family man” cost Escobar not only his business but also his life?
    In my book you should expect a lot of death and a lot of government, police talk. There are a lot of names mentioned so it is sometimes hard to keep up. But throughout this book Pablo ends up the honest man in the world but also the worlds most wanted man.
    Some of the things I learned was that Pablo would deceive anyone to get his way. He would talk and after a minute of talking people would automatically believe anything he would say. He had the Columbian government wrapped around his finger, most of them worked for him. But no matter how much blood he shed he was still considered a hero in his hometown and is to this day.
    This book was okay. A lot of it was a little hard to understand because it was a lot of government/police terminology. For example, “CNP [PNC]”, “FLIR…AWACS”. These terms were not defined very clearly and made it harder to read. You had to go back and reread certain parts because it was so hard to read.
    When reading this book I learned all about Pablo Escobar, his family and even about other drug cartels. Before reading this had no information on this subject now I know a lot about the working of a drug cartel. Not only do I have a better understanding of Columbia and what it would be like to live there I learned about corruption, and I dove into the mind of Pablo Escobar.
    I would not recommend this book to anyone younger than a junior maybe a sophomore. To read this book you don’t want to be squeamish. There are many words someone young would most likely not know. The most confusing and difficult part of reading this book is remembering who’s who because you will definitely get people mixed up especially the good and the bad. I enjoyed learning about him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Yes

    Awesome

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  • Posted December 12, 2012

    Killing Pablo was written by Mark Bowden, and published by Gr

    Killing Pablo was written by Mark Bowden, and published by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

    This book talks about the rise of Pablo Escobor, and what the police did to stop him. Pablo was a very powerful drug lord who was addicted to weed, sex, and power. He started his career of illegal activity with stealing and trading tombstones all the way up to selling cocaine to people in Colombia and people in the United States. This book is quit graphic in detail when it comes to crimes Pablo has committed, or what others have committed.

    Pablo was willing to kill almost anybody. He killed cops, partners in crime, he would even take blame for a crime he may not have even committed just for the credit. He had payed men a lot of money bounty for each cop killed in Medellin. Pablo had made millions in drug business and one year "Forbes" magazine named Pablo the 7th in the world in 1989. He was very brutal and violent. If people owed him money he would kidnap them and after the ransom was paid he would still kill them.

    I liked the book because it was very detailed. Not just in crime but also in nature. In the very bagging you read about the beautiful landscape of Colombia in rich detail and it feels pretty. Then you take a turn from landscape to something almost evil. Detail in crime and it almost gives you the chills. You may never know what to expect.

    I learned that even if you are famous all over Colombia and the United States for being a drug dealer doesn't mean you get caught so easily. What I mean by that is I always thought you could get caught so easily by undercover cops like in movies. I learned that it can be very different in reality.

    I would recommend this book to teenagers around 15 and older due to the graphics of this book. Also if you are into true crime stories and love action and deep descriptive detail then i highly recommend this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    excellent book

    complete and informative page turner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Saw the book on Breaking Bad...

    This book is wonderful. It's truly a page turning true crime/suspense thriller that greatly captures the atrocities committed by Escobar and the lengths the US and Columbia went to to get this guy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    Great book tragic ending

    This book is a grrat read for any body whose interested in true crime or in the cultural history of columbia this book talk about therise and fall of the one of the greatest outlaws of all time

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2002

    The Richest and Most Powerful Criminal History

    Reading about powerful people is great, Bowen provides such a detail story that makes you want to read more and more. If you enjoyed reading Black Hawk Down, yo will love this book. You won't waste your time... i encourage you to read it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    killing pablo and looking for osama

    this is a great read and interestingly as the story unwinds there is an insight into what weapons might now be used by the u.s. in its hunt for osama. I could not put Killing Pablo down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    MONEY!!! and what it did to a nation.

    I haven't completed the book, but already I can't put it down. I have been moved by the entire section I have read. How can one single man be running a nation as he was. Thus far I've liked two particular statements, 'Killing Galán had made Pablo public enemy number one in Colombia. The Avianca bombing made him public enemy number one in the world,' and yet another one by Mr. Escobar himself, 'Better a tomb in Colombia than a prison cell in the United States.' This book has taught me a lot I didn't know about my country and about the vulnerability in my country which still exists. Don't judge Colombians based on the Media reports, judge us based on the experiences you've had with a Colombian or Colombians. In my opinion, Mark Bowden gets an A+.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    Pablo is gone, but the drug trafficking is still there

    The best story published so far on Pablo Escobar and his devious ways. Impressive array of sources for a book that should create stir both in Colombia and in the United States. American people may be shocked to know that US forces were involved (lawfully) in a task whose clear goal was to kill someone. Latinamericans are accostumed to that kind of stories, as we are very prone to believe in conspiracy theories. For Colombians, the book may be the confirmation that during the chase of Pablo for what is worth US officers were in charge. The killing of Escobar did not end drug trafficking, not even made a dent on it. It just transferred the leadership of the business to the cali guys. As the author says in the final chapter, the manhunt was not about drug trafficking...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2001

    The War on Drugs brought to Life...

    This is an excellent account of Escobar's violent rise & fall. More importantly this is a good illustration of the tradgic affect the drug trade has had on Colombia. A whole nation has become accustomed to bombs, kidnappings, assinations & rampant corruption of government officials. Something we in the United States take for granted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2001

    Hard to beleive he was taken down.

    This book is really 'good''excellent'. It describes alot of Pablos crimes in detail. It shows from his day's of stealing thomb stones to his cocaine cartel day's , showing how every one fear him, and how he would always keep his cool no matter what was going on, even in to that fatal day when he was gun down..But if you seen Blow don't expect to read about 'George Jung' but you do read about 'Carlos Lahder' george partner in crime...

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    Posted November 22, 2011

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    Posted August 31, 2011

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    Posted May 26, 2012

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    Posted January 1, 2011

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    Posted October 2, 2011

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    Posted May 14, 2013

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