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CriticasIn 1990, Colombian journalist Salazar J. penned the classic No nacimos pa' semilla (We Weren't Born to Be Seed, Cinep), a first-hand account of young contract killers from the slums of Medellin originally hired by cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar to kill his enemies. In 1999, he published La cola del lagarto (The Lizard's Tale, Ministerio de Comunicaciones), a study of the effects of drug trafficking on Colombian society. He is thus the perfect candidate to conduct an in-depth investigation into the life of the legendary Escobar. This is the story of a complex human being-alternately a loving family man, a philanthropist, a drug dealer, and bloodthirsty killer-who shaped and wounded Colombia as he expanded his wealth and power. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with Escobar's friends, family, and foes, Salazar J. paints a vivid portrait of the drug trafficker, beginning with his ancestors and ending with his assassination in 1993. This is much more than a biographical account, however, as the author transcends the basics and tries to discover Escobar's intentions and motivations. Nothing less could be called for in the story of a man who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Colombians-including judges, journalists, politicians, policemen, and scores of innocent bystanders-through his signature car bombs, kidnappings, and sniper shootings. This is an engaging read, a riveting account with a great amount of Colombian history and social fabric woven into the facts; Salazar J. manages to demystify a near-mythical figure. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries with collections in Colombian history, Latin American biographies, and drug trafficking.
—Tatiana de la Tierra, Univ. of Buffalo Lib., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.