cover image Matar A Pablo Escobar

Matar A Pablo Escobar

Mark Bowden. Alfaguara, $24.95 (360pp) ISBN 978-84-7901-765-1

This action-packed investigative report offers insightful perspective on how the Colombian street criminal, Pablo Escobar, gained unimaginable wealth and power to become the most violent cocaine kingpin and one of the world's most wanted criminals. For many years, he eluded capture with his ""plata o plomo"" (""bribes or bullets"") approach: killing creditors, disloyal servants, and even judges and presidential candidates who stood in his way. Bowden (La caida del halcon negro [Black Hawk Down], see review on p. 45) focuses on the costly and bloody manhunt for Escobar, with the combined efforts of the CIA, FBI, DEA, the mysterious Delta Force, and the Colombian police. The 2001 English-language version made it to several best-seller charts and was praised for exposing the involvement of shadowy American squads. Molinari has translated historical and biographical works, including Mark Roseman's Holocaust account The Villa, the Lake, the Meeting (La villa, el lago, la reunion, RBA, 2002). Here, he successfully conveys Bowden's journalistic style and adds his own footnotes to explain the phenomenon of the sicarios (""young hired killers"") or to identify people and entities. Molinari avoids jargons and regionalisms like the vosotros form, and his prose flows naturally. This excellent translation is highly recommended for public libraries and bookstores with readers interested in the drug war, Colombian history, and surveillance technology.