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Kings of Cocaine Inside the Medellin Cartel an Astonishing True Story of Murder Money and International Corruption Hardcover – April, 1989


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671649574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671649579
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a riveting narrative based on their prize-winning series in the Miami Herald , Gugliotta and Leen expose in alarming, well-documented and vivid detail the estimated $8 billion-a-year Colombian cartel that controls 80% of the world's cocaine market. In their account, the complex hierarchy of the cartel directs an international operation that resembles and surpasses many multinational corporations in efficiency and sophisticated marketing techniques. Run by a small group of murderous young overlords, the organization has thousands of employees--from peasants and pilots to lawyers and hit-men. Initially, corrupt bank and government officials in Colombia favored the cartel's growth. However, this changed after the cartel's successful opposition to an extradition treaty between Colombia and the U.S., which involved a reign of terror against Colombian institutions. The extended activities of the cocaine barons in Central America have compromised U.S. national interests, the authors maintain, especially in the case of reported contra- cartel links and alleged drug trafficking by Panama's Noriega. Despite concerted law enforcement efforts, the cartel still thrives. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In what is the most gripping, complete account yet of this powerful cocaine cartel, the authors, Miami Herald reporters, have painted an incisive and shocking picture of the men and money involved. The lives and characters of the drug lords are thoroughly explored, including the trial of Carlos Lehder, who recently became the first Cartel leader to be sentenced to prison in the United States. Even those libraries with Paul Eddy's The Cocaine Wars: Murder, Money, Corruption, and the World's Most Valuable Commodity ( LJ 7/88) and Elaine Shannon's Desperadoes: Latin Drug Lords, U.S. Lawmen, and the War America Can't Win ( LJ 11/15/88) should purchase this. Highly recommended.
- Sally G. Waters, Stetson Law Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
56%
4 star
36%
3 star
0%
2 star
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1 star
8%
See all 36 customer reviews
The book was received in a timely manner and reasonable condition for a book that is impossible to find.
Ann S. Jackson
The authors give you detailed historical information in a story fashion on the Medellin Cartel through the time the book was written.
ZX9RMike
This is an excellent book about what I would call ‘phase 1’ of the history of Colombian cocaine trafficking.
Thad Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thad Brown on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book about what I would call ‘phase 1’ of the history of Colombian cocaine trafficking. Or maybe it would be better called ‘The Cessna Era’ since it was really in this time that cocaine was moved mostly in small planes, through Central America and the Caribbean, and then eventually through South Florida and on to parts various in the US. When the narrative in this book ends, in 1988, Pablo Escobar still had five years to live, the worst of the inter-cartel wars were still to come (which I suspect would have shocked the authors and readers when this book was released), and the Zetas and Sinoloa Cartel were but figments in the imaginations of young Mexican men.

Both the strength and the weakness of this book lie in the fact that it is comparatively dated at this point. The title gets it very right; this was the Wild West, cowboys and Indians, lawmen and outlaws time for cocaine trafficking. Much of the interest in the book is reading about how long it took the DEA to understand just how vast and profitable the cocaine trade had become, pretty much without them even noticing. In one excellent, long section of the book, the Colombian national police and DEA agents make a bust almost by accident of a huge jungle production lab for turning paste coca into powder cocaine for transport. The cops had assumed the cartels were aggregating output from dozens or hundreds of mom-and-pop labs and shipping that to the US. What they found was a huge complex with tons, not kilos of cocaine, generators, barracks, an industrial kitchen, a sewing shop for uniforms, and earth moving gear to maintain the professional looking airstrip.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have ever read, about any subject....I have told anyone who will listen, to read this book, it's frightening, but very realistic, I just couldn't put it down.....I have read it twice, and it's one of those books you would call a 'keeper'....if you haven't read it, find it and read it....it will BLOW YOUR MIND......
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff W Traylor on May 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Originally published in 1989, Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen have written an astonishing account of the rise of the Medellin cocaine cartel. The book is well researched and the pacing keeps you turning pages. The authors were able to connect a number of separate dots which give the reader a clear picture of the enormity of the drug trade in the late 70's and early 80's. The organization of the drug lords (Escobar, Ochoa, etc.), the men aligned against them and the other bit players caught in between are all brought to life in a fascinating and well written book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EddyG on July 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is a good start for those folks trying to learn more about the drug trade in the Western Hemisphere. The journalists have done a fine job of capturing some of the key players as well as providing baseline information about cocaine. They do so by focusing on American and Colombian personalities on both sides of the drug war. In doing so, they provide an exciting tale of violence, greed, and heroism that keeps you from putting the book down.

This book serves as a great primer for anyone interested in learning how the cocaine trade started in Latin America, in fact, you'll be surprised where it actually started and how it ended up in Colombia. Many of the main characters are fascinating individuals and offer an interesting vehicle for telling how the cocaine trade developed. Unfortunately, it ends in early 1990, leaving you wanting to hear the "rest of the story." The only drawback was the habit of bouncing around telling the individual stories, thereby losing a bit of the historical timeline, which at times could be annoying as you jump around different time periods. Nonetheless, it is a riveting story that lays the foundation for understanding a criminal enterprise that threatens the welfare of our nation, as well as our regional neighbors. It's over 600 pages, but it is a quick read and you'll enjoy the story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike Hammer on February 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book and the authors have done a remarkable job in their writing of this book. The fact that Gugliotta and Leen spent three years doing research on the Medellin Cartel for this book proves the extent that most of what is written is accurate. There is also 20-30 photos in the book. A great buy and worth every penny for someone who wants to read about cocaine smuggled into the united states and the guys behind it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ZX9RMike on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read this several years ago, and loved reading every page. This book gives the early development of the cocaine industry in the U.S. and South America, and tells the reader how it got started in the U.S., and slowly became a large industry here. All based on facts. The authors give you detailed historical information in a story fashion on the Medellin Cartel through the time the book was written. It was published long before the fall of Pablo Escobar, so you won't get any coverage of that. But you will get the story on each member of the Medellin Cartel, and the major players on the law enforcement side from the U.S. and from South America. You will get the glory and the gore of the operations of "the Cartel". Definitely a must read for anyone wanting to get up to speed on the complete development of the cartels and how it all got started. The principals in the Medellin Cartel definitely invented the method which became the blueprint for all cartels that would follow later in history. They were the big fish until they came apart.
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