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Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail Paperback – May 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
San Pedro prison turned out to be the strangest place Thomas had ever been in his life. It was a microcosm of the entire Bolivian economy. People ran shops, made and traded drugs, bribed all the police and guards on a daily basis and had their wives and children live with them in jail.
Thomas is honest and straightforward in stating that before his arrest he was a professional drug smuggler and after his introduction to prison a regular cocaine taker as well. He's not an angel, but this is a fascinating story of good times and bad times and the friends and enemies of life in the strangest prison you'll ever read about. The moral of this story is - if you have to go to prison in South America make sure its San Pedro and that you are rich and any of other nationality aside from USA. "Gringos" can survive these prisons but they can also be brutal to people that they hate and this book shows you both the light and dark sides of San Pedro prison and a place that was at one point one of South America's strangest tourist attractions.
Some of the reviews don't believe his is for real, but I know he is. As far as embellishing I can't comment on that, but he is a very likeable guy. I spent the day with him as his visitor. He was extremely courteous and nice. In the afternoon, I didn't know how to repay him for showing me around so I asked what I could do for him. He wanted a pizza from outside the prison. When I came back with the Pizza it was when visiting hours were ending, so Thomas bribed the guards to let me in. I didn't know all this until later. I was brought to his section and locked in. At that moment, I was pretty scared. But, once I found Thomas, we had a fun time eating p
This is the story of a prisoner as told by a man who came to befriend him over repeated visits to the prison. The plot centers around the man's 4+ year stint in Bolivian prison, but tells so much more than this story. "Marching Powder" delves into the rampant corruption inside the prison, the bizarre, surreal microcosm of the prison, and one man's odyssey to be released from prison and continue with his life. If you have seen the film "Midnight Express," this book is reminiscent of it.
The story takes place almost entirely inside a Bolivian prison. Life inside this prison has its own set of rules and regulations, and is unlike anything you could imagine. The prison has its own economy, its own neighborhoods, and a cast of characters (including a crack-addicted cat) that could have come out of a movie.
The book moves quickly, the writing is fluid and vivid, the characters are larger than life, and some of the details can be jaw-dropping.
What I found in this book was a surprisingly funny, yet also dark account of life in Bolivia's San Pedro prison. Basically if you don't have any money to bribe the guards you don't even get food to eat let alone a cell to call your own. That's right, you have to pay for your own cell like it was real estate!
The book is written by Rusty Young, an Australian backpacking in South America who had heard of a guy in San Pedro who was giving tours and overnight stays in the prison, for a price. Three months later Rusty emerged with Thomas' story of mob justice, violence, bribery, drugs, women, love and even a night out on the town.
Thomas never really apologises for anything he has done, and if anything he gives us quite an insight into the global drug trafficking business. But most of the book focuses on Thomas' time in San Pedro and his often fight to stay alive. I'm not normally a non-fiction fan, but I have to admit this book was VERY interesting!
Lastly he says he does all these things while in prison and I don't want to ruin it for you but it's impossible that he could've done them all at the same time. There are other little things like that we kind of scratch your head and wonder whether not he's making things up. I'm not saying he is but he should have been able to explain how all these things were going on and not failing.
It's a good book if you have time to spare but honestly all you have to do is read the reviews with the spoilers and you'll get pretty much the whole book. Unfortunately there's not much else other then chapter after chapter of anecdotes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Decent read, engaging and interesting. The ending feels slightly rushed, but nevertheless had enough momentum to keep me curious to find out what happened to the protagonist.Published 4 days ago by Mr Harry M Gasper
This is a well written read about life as a foreigner in a South American prison. If tales of torture and corruption interest you Marching Powder is for you.Published 2 months ago by Kindell c lewis
Great read. Makes me want to take a tour of the prison. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.Published 2 months ago by Derrick Beneville
Amazing story. It will leave you hooked and wanting to know what's going to happen next. Buy it now, no regretsPublished 2 months ago by Marie