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Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History
     

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History

4.1 126
by Mark Bowden
 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857891495
Publisher:
Atlantic
Publication date:
03/28/2012

Meet the Author

MARK BOWDEN is the author of seven books, including The Best Game Ever, Bringing the Heat, Killing Pablo, and Guests of the Ayatollah. He reported at The Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and other magazines. He lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

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Killing Pablo 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, I think that this book was absolutely great. The details in the book make it seem like you’re thinking that you’re somehow in the book or that you can picture any scene or character. The author, Mark Bowden, wrote the book with sections titled as six of some of the major events, The Rise of El Doctor, The First War, Imprisonment and Escape, Los Pepes, The Kill, and Aftermath. These events that happened had to do with Colombian history or with Pablo Escobar made it much easier to understand because it all connected together. There were many facts that I had never heard of, information about his whole entire life and the book had an index and sources. Something that was helpful, even for me, was that since some of the words were Spanish terms, they were italicized and there would be a definition right next to them. Throughout the book, it can be hard to understand since there was so much information, and since it’s a different country other than the United States, there’s a different history and understanding. I could still pick up really quickly on the literature as long as I went over it a couple of times and stuck it in my head. Another thing I didn’t like, was that there were a lot of characters or names mentioned in the book that I thought weren’t as important to go with a story having to do with Escobar so I think it wasn’t necessary. Although the United States isn’t involved as much throughout the book, it’s still really interesting to learn about Pablo Escobar in Colombia, which is why I recommend it for anyone who is interested to learn about this drug lord, violence or Colombian history. If I were to give a rating for this book, I would give it four out of five due to the interesting details and facts. In the end, I was so surprised to have enjoyed the book so much. Since my family is Colombian, I knew some stuff already about Escobar but I learned so much about not only Pablo Escobar but about the history and how things have gotten so bad in the past. You'll definitely want to learn about this devious, sneaky, powerful man who practically once ruled but was then killed in more of a simpler way than you think.
PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Killing Pablo By Mark Bowden tells the story of Pablo Escobar. Pablo Escobar is part of the Colombian cocaine cartel, and is involved in a huge amount of murders that he denies having anything to do with. This story goes through Pablo's life from his days when he could do anything or kill anyone and because people were so scared of him nothing was said, to the days coming up to his death where he had everyone in the world turned against him. Pablo Escobar killed hundreds and never thought twice about it. This story also meets with lots of people who's lives crossed paths with Pablo, and most times it was for the worse. I liked this book and i disliked the books for different reasons. I liked this book because it gave a great input into Pablo's Escobar Glory days and also when he fell from the high point he was at. I liked how the book didn't just start when the chase for Pablo began, but it started at the beginning while Pablo was just selling cocaine and killing people secretly. What I disliked about this book is how confusing it got with all the different police officers, political people, the ones that were murdered by Pablo and their grieving family's. There were so many names that sometimes i forgot who the book was talking about. The book also shows how Pablo's killing and involvement in the cocaine cartel affected so many people's lives. Pablo killed fathers, and sons, he killed parents and kids, and he took hostages and threatened their lives. Nobody was safe during the time of Pablo Escobar. Everyone was always worried for their family and their own lives. If Pablo was led to believe that someone was against him, even if it wasn't true they would be killed. Killing Pablo was a great book that showed every detail of what happened during the reign of Pablo. The book showed his family and how they were affected, how his son started to grow up just like his father. It showed how they actually believed Pablo was a good person, even though he was at fault for the pain all the families he killed a member of would live with for the rest of their lives. Living in Colombia was never, ever a guarantee of safety it was more a guarantee of someone you loved or yourself being killed. The story of Pablo Escobar described how one mans power and ruling over all of Colombia could be taken out of his hands when he went to far. The search for Pablo Escobar lasted many years and Pablo was in hiding going from place to place. He would never fight back himself he would hit where it hurt, but killing the family's of the men that were searching for Pablo. Pablo would never be in one place for long, never stay on the phone longer then a specific amount of time, and was very strict about giving out information. I highly recommend the story Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
WorldReader1111 12 days ago
I liked 'Killing Pablo.' It is, first, well-written for such a book, with a clear, elegant format that is engaging yet easy to read. Furthermore, the author writes with very little bias or "coloring," as to present the facts with an impressive objectivity (which I value highly in journalism and other nonfiction, so that I may more confidently evaluate said facts, rather than having to weed them out from opinion or distortion). From a literary perspective, 'Killing Pablo' is clean and functional, as well as concise and to-the-point. As for its actual content, the book is equally substantial, and on several levels. Overtly, it delivers a sound, comprehensive, and well-researched account of Pablo Escobar's life and pursuits, along with supplementary information about the key people and places involved in the events that would culminate in Mr. Escobar's death. By compiling the available facts into a coherent narrative, the author does a fine job of accomplishing the book's stated purpose as a historical and biographical document. However, there are other, subtler dimensions to the Escobar story: valuable insights into Colombian culture, and the cognitive dissonance responsible for Mr. Escobar's widespread support; human studies of Escobar, his enemies, and other characters in his sordid affair; demonstration of how "appearances can be deceiving," as seen in the humanitarian acts of a decidedly murderous and self-serving individual; broad psychological studies that touch on everything from power politics to the mentality of pursuit; rare glimpses into the mechanics of international justice and its underbelly of hidden agendas and self-advancement; the obligatory examination of the global cocaine trade and the many moral and philosophical issues it evokes. And, in my view, Mr. Escobar's story serves as a powerful object lesson in ends-justifying-means; reading of the ceaseless cycles of violence and reprisal, I couldn't help thinking of the timeless phrase, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." All in all, 'Pablo' is a smorgasbord of food-for-thought, with a deep, far-reaching relevance that is not immediately suggested by the singular nature of the story in which it is framed. I learned from this book, as to come away from it feeling enriched. My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It looks like a minor detail. Nevertheless, it could be important. Mark Bowden mentions in his book Killing Pablo: "To entertain his closest friends, Pablo would hire ... beauty queens for evenings of erotic games. The women ... (had to experience) bizarre humiliations – (for example) swallowing insects..." In some time now, profilers working for the FBI have linked bizarre animal abuse and animal killing in childhood to some of the world's worst killers. Thus, thinking about Pablo Escobar's party pleasures – letting young women swallow insects, for example – one might come to the psychological conclusion that the "child" in Pablo, if one may say so, reappeared when he was relaxing, partying, playing with friends... In this mood of joking and playing around the perverse child showed up again. If this is true, it would be an important observation, psychologically. That a notorious serial killer or mass murderer can be defined by his murders is evident. But that we can see right to the bottom of his perverse nature by looking into the adult's childish/childlike party habits is a new improvement. Conclusion: Let adult murderers chillaxe and play and party with alikes and you will see, how deep his perversion goes, and where the whole thing began. Therefore, investigating and describing Pablo Escobar's and other criminals' party pleasures can be decisive. Maybe Mark Bowden has felt that. Good work! (relif orp)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 More than 1 year ago
I was always fascinated by the stories my brother would tell me about Pablo and this book confirms a lot of it. He had an interesting relationship with him and that's all I'm saying about that matter. If your interested in that dark world then give this book a try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VictoriaCapaldo More than 1 year ago
Follow the violent chase and epic take-down of the man deemed the world's greatest outlaw, Pablo Escobar, in Mark Bowden's action-packed novel, Killing Pablo. Bowden has written an exceptional piece that takes the reader from the early days of Escobar's life, all the way through the outrageous manhunt and unexpected turn of events that left him dead. Pablo's story is actually quite remarkable.  He grew up outside of Medellín, Columbia and led a fairly typical life. most of his influence was from his mother. He had great aspirations. He wanted to "be big". He began using drugs and smoking pot at a young age, and committed petty crimes. The first of which was sandblasting and reselling tombstones, and then he sold fake lottery tickets and even began car theft; killing and taking  cars, selling the parts for profit. Not too long after, Pablo realized a new way to make money; selling drugs. He started small, but when  a local dealer passed away, he took on that portion of the drug trade. He soon opened doors to the United States, and eventually became responsible for around 70% of the cocaine entering the US. His power was clear, he was in control of all crime in Medellín.  He made sure people recognized his authority, he made money off of the people he stole from and made money off of the people he didn't for security. Pablo killed because he could, and it made him plenty of money. As his power grew, Pablo even became a part of the  Colombian government as a member of congress. This gave him access to whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. When somebody opposed him, he knew how to manage it. He unleashed utter havoc on the nation, setting off bombs and committing countless murders. He bribed and killed those who dared threaten his authority. Eventually, Pablo informed the government that he would give up under one single condition: that he could construct a jail for himself to spend his sentence in. Reluctant, they accepted. And it wasn't long until he escaped. The following events are when things really began to pick up. This period of time is most effectively captured by Bowden. He tells of the hunt in great detail, including photographs, transcripts of phone conversations, and significant documents. The U.S. special forces and Colombia worked together to bring down Pablo, promising no consequences to anybody involved that would assist them. These fifteen months brought great difficulty to those who were working to take him down, and it took the United States Delta Force to finally take down the drug lord. Action-packed and deeply informative, Killing Pablo is an excellent novel. Bowden is able to tell his story and even include real media, creating a compelling book that leaves no questions unanswered. I would recommend it to anybody that enjoys reading crime stories, or anybody looking for a great non-fiction. 
Puffy20 More than 1 year ago
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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complete and informative page turner
Spanish1Ryan More than 1 year ago
The novel ¿Killing Pablo¿ by Mark Bowden is an epic fast paced journey through the eyes of the Colombian government during Pablo Escobar¿s reign of terror. The action packed story gives the reader a lot of different information about Colombia¿s history. From early Assassinations of future Presidents to young Pablo muscling is way up through Meddellin¿s organized crime scene. The book explains Pablo¿s intentions which in a sense were not that bad. He himself only wanted better for the Colombia people but what he was willing to do to provide it was to much for not just Colombia but for the world to handle. He single handily built the biggest drug cartel in the world smuggling 70% of the cocaine brought into the United States. He managed to put himself into Colombia¿s political system becoming part of senate making Colombia a cocaine ruled country. Whatever he wanted he could have it. The United States demanded him be extradited immediately but any force sent after him could be paid off or killed. America¿s involvement became a major part to Colombia¿s eventual victory. Once Pablo became a wanted man and lost all credibility he became the worst terrorist the world had ever seen. He set off bombs everyday and his hit squads erased anyone who stepped in his path. It seamed like he was an unstoppable force. The United States involvement was extremely limited though. They were only allowed to gather Intel from there safe compound (although they often went on raids secretly). There technology monitored radio feeds and cell phone lines looking for Pablo¿s voice to come up. Eventually Pablo surrendered himself to the government after unleashing all he could on the Colombian people. His agreement to his surrender guaranteed that he would not be extradited and that he could build a jail for himself wherever he liked. Instead of building a jail he built a luxurious mansion which he had free reign to leave whenever he wanted. He escaped once again when the government planned to move him to an actually prison. Once again his terrorist acts continued and the Cocaine industry thrived. At that point though Delta Force (Army Special Forces) had enough. They decided to use Pablo¿s tactics against him. As police began killing Pablo¿s associates in gun fights, the U.S. decided to bribe the ones that were still alive with Benefits. They were promised that there records would be wiped clean if they were to help on the hunt for Pablo Escobar. Even Pablo¿s enemies came out of hiding to help thus creating a death squad of their own to strike back. Any act of terrorism that was committed upon the Colombia people was done back to Pablo¿s family. Bombing and killings went back and forth for months. This took away Pablo¿s moral and confidence. `The battle continued for many months until Pablo was eventually slain in his home town of Medellin. The story is a constantly moving forward with action packed chapters that jump off the page at you. Written like a Tom Clancy thriller, ¿Killing Pablo¿ is a must read for Colombian¿s who are curious about there countries recent history. Mark Bowden successfully wrote another great Action novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago