Pablo Escobar was arguably one of the most violent criminals in history. In his book, Mark Bowden gives a detailed account of Escobar’s life and reign as Colombia’s drug dictator.
He recounts in incredible detail his rise from the humble home of a devout catholic teacher. Bowden explains the incredible power that he attained on a variety of levels; social, local, national, criminal, government and law enforcement, and how he constantly hungered for more. The corruption surrounding Escobar was astounding. He controlled so many people who came in contact with him, from him family, to lawyers, to politicians and Colombia’s military forces. This was possible not only because of his grotesquely violent behaviors, but also through his wealth and charisma. His sociopathic tendencies caused him to not only crave ultimate power, but also the status of a benevolent social icon who was loved by the people.
But his reign could not last forever. The majority of the book covers the more than sixteen-month war and manhunt, millions of dollars, and hundreds of lives required to bring him down. In telling this story Bowden sheds light on the interesting reality of how the corruption surrounding Escobar flowed over to the good guys. This came in the form of corruption, violence and vigilante justice from small group that was so desperate to eliminate this elusive criminal.
The complete story and all of the true details will never be fully known. But through this well researched book, Bowden does a great job of telling the story, including the lives ruined, on both sides, and carnage left in the wake of this infamous man.