Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail [NOOK Book]

Overview


Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the young Australian journalist went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas's illegal tours. They formed an instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas's experiences in the jail. Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with ...
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Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail

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Overview


Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the young Australian journalist went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas's illegal tours. They formed an instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas's experiences in the jail. Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with Thomas and recording one of the strangest and most compelling prison stories of all time. The result is Marching Powder.

This book establishes that San Pedro is not your average prison. Inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants. Women and children live with imprisoned family members. It is a place where corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury apartments, while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation. Violence is a constant threat, and sections of San Pedro that echo with the sound of children by day house some of Bolivia's busiest cocaine laboratories by night. In San Pedro, cocaine--"Bolivian marching powder"--makes life bearable. Even the prison cat is addicted.

Yet Marching Powder is also the tale of friendship, a place where horror is countered by humor and cruelty and compassion can inhabit the same cell. This is cutting-edge travel-writing and a fascinating account of infiltration into the South American drug culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This memoir of a British drug dealer's nearly five years inside a Bolivian prison provides a unique window on a bizarre and corrupt world. McFadden, a young black man from Liverpool arrested for smuggling cocaine, finds himself forced to pay for his accommodations in La Paz's San Pedro Prison, the first of many oddities in a place where some inmates keep pets and rich criminals can sustain a lavish lifestyle. The charismatic McFadden soon learns how to survive, and even thrive, in an atmosphere where crooked prison officials turn up at his private cell to snort lines of coke. By chance, he stumbles on an additional source of income when he begins giving tours of the prison to foreign tourists, a trade that leads to the mention in a Lonely Planet guidebook that attracts the attention of his coauthor, Young, who was backpacking in South America at the time. McFadden's unapologetic self-serving story will attract little pity as he freely admits to countless cocaine sales for which he was never held accountable. Once the authors chronicle the novel aspects of life in San Pedro, from which McFadden was released in 2000, the narrative loses momentum. The book would have benefited from some judicious editing and some objective perspective on the veracity of McFadden's story. Agent, Jeff Gerecke at JCA Literary. (May 12) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466817326
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 137,187
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Rusty Young currently lives in Colombia, where he teaches English.

Thomas McFadden was released from San Pedro and now lives in England.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Rusty 1
Part 2 Thomas 15
1 El Alto Airport 17
2 Change of Plans 23
3 Los Perros 38
4 Thirteen Days in Hell 44
5 San Pedro Prison 51
6 Ricardo 58
7 Researching the Housing Market 80
8 Buying a Cell of My Own 102
9 Preparing for Trial 109
10 La Noche de San Juan 113
11 Jack 118
12 The Governor 123
13 The International University of Cocaine 132
14 Abregon: Brothers in Crime 137
15 A Night on the Town 141
16 Yasheeda 150
17 A Voluntary Inmate 160
18 Happy Birthday 164
19 Christmas in Prison 169
20 Los Violadores 174
21 Sleeping Pills 182
22 My Trial Begins 185
23 Thomas the Tour Guide 190
24 Sentencing 198
25 Troubled Times 204
26 Hasta Luego 209
27 San Pedro Prison Tours 214
28 Thomas the Shopkeeper 225
29 Mike 233
30 Night Shift in the Cocaine Laboratories 237
31 The Velascos 240
32 'One of the World's Most Bizarre Tourist Attractions' 244
33 Word Spreads 249
34 'Father Thomas' 255
35 Mike Goes Crazy 261
36 Prisoners' Day 265
37 The Australian's Wallet 270
38 Prison Elections 277
39 Hidden Enemies 283
40 Solitary Confinement 293
41 Samir 307
42 Tormenta 316
43 A Special Visitor 325
44 Terrible News 329
45 New Charges 332
46 Meeting Rusty 341
47 Money Worries 345
48 My International Human Rights Lawyer 350
49 Witness for the Defence 358
50 Desperate Measures 362
51 Verdict 370
Acknowledgements 373
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2012

    This is the story of one of the most unique jails there are, one

    This is the story of one of the most unique jails there are, one where you need to buy your cells, children roam the street and whole families survive inside. If you have EVER been interested in the jail system this is a book for you. The author commands your attention and it is really a book that I couldn't put down until it was finished!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2008

    Unbelieveable Story

    This book was Great! Prisoners must purchase their own cells...the prison runs like a small city. I learned so much from Mr. McFaddens well told story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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