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I Am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 1, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If La Repubblica journalist Rastello�s account of today�s cocaine trade has an overly Italian bent, or if his central conceit often distracts�he tells the tale in the wise-guy voice of an apparent composite of smugglers he met�this is still a compelling, credible explanation of cocaine�s clout in the global economy, how and where it is produced, and how it is distributed. For anyone connected to the trade, creativity is key, from expanding the growing areas of the coca leaf to diabolical ways of transporting the drug (as a paste inside electric cable, or by soaking clothes in it for later removal) and moving the cash used to pay for it. There might be a wickedly vicarious thrill to reading this story, but Rastello�s narrator was caught in the end. More important, the trade as an issue can only be genuinely engaged when it is understood, and for that, readers have Rastello to thank. --Alan Moores

Review

“Darkly fascinating . . . this nameless coke-smuggling heavy has a jaundiced eye and a keen wit. I Am the Market is a glass-bottomed boat on what the Narrator calls a ‘sea of cocaine’ . . . Part Smithian-liberal treatise (if only the government wouldn't interfere . . . ), part Marxian analysis (the disenfranchised retaking the means of production . . . ), it presents an astute, jaded look at the political economy, in both macro and micro terms, of one of the world's most valuable substances.” —Brian Thomas Gallagher, The Observer

“Most of the people smuggling cocaine today don't even know they're doing it, especially if the cocaine has been disguised using one of the ingenious methods that The Market describes: dissolving powder in water and trapping it between panes of glass, for instance, or smearing it as paste over a consignment of fashionably crusty blue jeans . . . I Am the Market overflows with this kind of juicy tidbit. The notorious practice of having drug ‘mules’ swallow ovules of cocaine wrapped in condoms, he explains, is usually a diversion technique: While customs officers are posing on the evening news with half a kilo of product seized from some poor soul's intestines, the real shipment of maybe half a ton passes through the airport unmolested . . . Many of The Market's revelations will lend ammunition to anyone who thinks that the War on Drugs is a boneheaded exercise in waste and futility.” —Bruno Maddox, The Wall Street Journal

“Luca Rastello, a longtime observer of the criminal economy as a journalist and think-tank director, allows a very experienced Italian ‘sistemista’—a cagey contractor who transports tons of cocaine for cartels—to explain how it works. Rastello opens the book with a quick overview, and then hands the narration over to the unnamed sistemista. He is brilliant, and his voice, replete with all the bombast, ego, and lust for adventure one would expect of a globe-trotting career criminal, is what makes the book such a compelling and informative read.” —Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe

“A thrilling ride . . . The inside story on upper-tier cocaine smuggling is one that has been begging to be told. This one, the account of an anonymous smuggler known as Mr. Market, told to Italian journalist Luca Rastello, is brazen, defiant and brilliant.” —Tom Feiling, The Telegraph

“This is quite simply the best book about cocaine that we have read in the last ten years.” —Maxim

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Tra edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479496
  • ASIN: B006OHZAF8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,497,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book is misleading - "I am the Market - How to Smuggle Cocaine, by the ton, in Five Easy Lessons." There is some useful information, but you have to read a lot of overwritten stories about the author or his source and his drug dealer friends that aren't particularly interesting. We know they like to party and have a lot of whores around (one of the author's favorite words). The useful information that I did glean is that big time dealers are ingenious in their skills at hiding lots of kilos in legitimate cargo, like, in the author's case, high quality tiles, granite and marble, and getting it past customs. And the biggest players in the game may be an obscure (to me) tribe of Indians in South America.
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This book cuts to the essence of human nature, ingenuity, and outside the box thinking. It also lets the world know what is really going on behind the scenes with respect to smuggling.
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