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The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel Hardcover – February 25, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (February 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446178926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446178921
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roberto Escobar provides an intimate portrait of his brother, Pablo Escobar, the infamous leader of the Medellin drug cartel. He makes a strenuous—if not entirely persuasive—effort to reveal his brother's more sensitive side and to argue that the Colombian and U.S. governments exaggerated the degree of Pablo's involvement in the cartel. The book's organization is spotty and the familial bias often frustrates—listeners will likely crave a more unvarnished biography—but Ruben Diaz provides an unimpeachable performance. With an authentic, never grating accent, he narrates so sincerely that the audience might believe they are listening to Roberto himself. A Grand Central hardcover. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

By the time of his death at the hands of a special squad of Colombian police in 1993, Pablo Escobar controlled a multibillion-dollar cocaine-based empire that corrupted police, the military, and high-ranking politicians. His older brother, Roberto, served as the financial guru of this empire, deciding how to save, hide, and distribute vast sums of cash to maintain and nurture the so-called Medellín cartel. Escobar, who served a 10-year prison sentence for his cartel activities, certainly provides a unique and often deeply personal perspective. His description of his childhood with Pablo may help explain but does not justify the way Pablo consistently resorted to unrestrained violence against any opposition. Colombia in the 1950s was in the throes of chronic political violence on a massive scale, with roving factional gangs engaging in murderous raids and counter-raids. Still, Escobar’s frequent efforts to “explain” (or even justify) Pablo’s outrages that killed numerous innocents quickly become tiresome and morally repugnant. When his narrative sticks to the nuts-and-bolts process of his brother’s relentless, ruthless construction of a gigantic and effective criminal organization, this is an engrossing and morbidly fascinating tale filled with intrigue, betrayal, and stunning amounts of cash. At its best, this is a real-life story of the rise and fall of a violent and vile man. --Jay Freeman

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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If you want a true inside look into the Medellin Cartel.
TRK
I dont believe he glorifies what Escobar did but I think he was hesitant to say anything bad as any good brother would.
Schnaptastic
Overall, though, this story was fascinating and a riveting read.
rry007

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By rry007 on August 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Accountant's Story is the story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, as told by Pablo's older brother, Roberto. It starts with their meager beginnings, and how growing up in poverty gave Pablo the drive and ambition needed to rule. Unlike published reports and accounts of Pablo, however, Roberto paints a starkly different picture of his brother. In his eyes, Pablo was smart and compassionate, always helping those in poverty. He took care of his friends and family, and many many people who worked for Pablo made more than enough to support their own families. Roberto even talks about how his life turned out as a consequence of being associated with Pablo.

I was fascinated to read about how much money cocaine brought in-for the pilots, guards, customs agents, and drivers that worked for Escobar. The staggering amount of money, and finding places to hide it all was really interesting. As Pablo's accountant, Roberto had to figure out ways to hide the money, partially by investing in real estate, and partially by hiding stacks of bills in between walls. The fact that drugs routinely got seized and hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost each month was inconsequential. They wrote off a lot of money each month just because of water damage it sustained hiding in walls, or because they couldn't remember where they hid some of the money. Remember, since all this was illegal, they couldn't just deposit the money in bank accounts. The amounts were truly staggering.

Roberto also goes into great detail about the fall of the Medellin cartel: the days spent in hiding, plans for escaping, negotiations regarding the extradition laws, and also Pablo's death.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Fritz on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it seemed interesting and I liked the movie "American Gangster". The story is interesting, but the book was disappointing. It is rambling and not that well-written. The story romanticizes Pablo Escobar emphasizing what he did for Colombia's poor and downplays the fact that he was a ruthless drug trafficker whom people feared. But then again, it is written by his brother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on April 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Roberto doesn't believe he did anything wrong in stashing cash away for Pablo. He believes he was jailed because he was Pablo's brother. Pablo was an upright guy, maybe a little viscious. There is a lot of whitewash going on right now. Roberto paints a portrait of Pable different from the tabloids and I believe it. The media paint some pictures wrong. However, Pablo had people murdered and he sold drugs. Roberto was an accomplice. Those are the facts. I don't feel sorry for either him or his brother. They brought death and destruction to thousands, and in turn were affected by there violent business.

This is an OK read about Pablo Escobar. This book was very interesting, but Roberto tries to justify himself and his brother. He does not do a credible job of either. An inside look at the drug trade.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Bourgoin on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book does give the reader a great amount of information on the life of pablo etc.
While i was reading the book i came across far to many spelling mistakes and inconsistencies . its a shame because the content is good, however untrue it might be (considering its his brother who wrote the book).
I would recommend it, just dont take everything it says as a 100% fact!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Red Fox on July 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pablo Escobar - famous in the West mainly for giving Columbian and US authorities the slip on many occasions. His name evokes the larrikin archetype of the crafty rebel, up there along with Ned Kelly, and the Scarlet Pimpernel, though whether his name evokes the same feelings in Spanish speakers is questionable (his name translates as "Paul Brush").

This book is a major contribution to the mythmaking process, as well as being an apologia for Pablo and his brother Robert. Why, says Robert, they never used drugs, they loved their mother, they only did what they had to do to support their families, and with more money than they knew what to do with they became sources of charity, welfare, employment and soccer stadiums for the poor of Medellin. It is quite likely that some people got killed, in fact almost certain, but that wasn't really Pablo's fault, Robert never saw him actually kill anyone, and anyway the other side started it.

If this book had gone on for a few more chapters I think Robert would have got to the point that Pablo and he were actually the victims in all this, and they really deserve sainthood for carrying on their industry through all the travails imposed on them by their rival gangs, their Government and the CIA.

The best way to read it is as a rollicking adventure story - it can be quite enjoyable if you are prepared to suspend disbelief a little even through the most outrageously improbable bits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By samog on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I found myself laughing at some of the narratives claiming that Pablo Escobar was some kind of a saint. Please! He was NOT at all. His brother describes him as a man whose worst sin was to fight for the poor and was somehow unjustly persecuted by the government and the military. Although in my opinion, the government of that time was not to be trusted, Pablo Escobar was a criminal, ruthless bastard who deserved a much worse faith that what he got. He should have been captured alive and put into solitary confinement or something of that sort.

On some of the pages where the jail "La Catedral" is described, Roberto Escobar even has the nerve to state that it wasn't anything fancy even after he has described that the jail house included soccer fields, bars, and fitness equipment.

I didn't like this book at all. It wasn't really a story but a bunch of sentences and paragraphs lacking sequence. I understand Roberto Escobar is P. Escobar's brother but I just think that if he wasn't willing to be objective he should have never gotten himself into this book writing project.

I am lucky the book was loaned to me by a friend because as someone else mentioned somewhere here I would be sick to my stomach if I knew I had contributed in any way to making money for this criminal.

I wouldn't recommend this book at all. If you want to learn about the story of drug trafficking in Colombia, you might perhaps find yourself another book but definitively not this one.
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