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Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire Paperback – November 30, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bowden does very detailed research and this book is no exception. Bowden chronicles all of the characters that help Larry in building his empire. And, more importantly, he tries very hard to get inside Larry's mind to show what made him tick. And that's what makes the story so interesting as Larry had many fine qualities. He clearly would have been sucessful in any field but watching him walk through the minefield of a dealer is really interesting. Through this journey he is ripped off at gunpoint with his wife, ripped off by his workers and ripped off by a financial advisor who sees Larry as the answer to his problems. Other highlights include the lives of his workers, some of who are very eccentric and develop very bad coke habits to the point of humor.
I strongly recommend this book if you like fully researched real-life dramas about life on the edge. While this book was written about 15 years ago, Bowden does a great update in 2001 to revisit Larry and see how his life is turning out in prison.
I highly recommend reading "Dr Dealer" and then follow it up with "Killing Pablo." Originally written in 1987 (this edition has a 2001 epilogue), Bowden follows an unlikely cocaine dealer in Larry Lavin, a preppy dental student who loves the maverick thrill of coke dealing, yet also enjoys the high-scale suburban American lifestyle. This book emphasizes Lavin's naive rationale that while cocaine is illegal, it is a high society party drug that was accepted by a wide variety of socialites (remember when it was called the "Champagne of Drugs?"), and figured that he wasn't hurting anybody by supplying it to people who sought it out. And that seems to be the consensus of his fellow upscale dealers and clients, up until their arrests. "Who are we hurting" seems to be the dealers' key question.
Which is why "Killing Pablo" is a great companion piece to "Doctor Dealer." The story of the hunt for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar paints a polar opposite portrayal of the cocaine trade. There are no preppy dentists, no white-collar style arrests; you see a multitude of Colombian citizens, from police to politicians to everyday folks from every walk of life, murdered by Colombian drug cartels. It is a brutal answer to the "Who are we hurting?" question, and Bowden does that very well.
Larry Lavin is a fascinating character, but not to the point that you feel sympathy for him. The more he succeeds in the illegal drug trade, the more arrogant he becomes, and the more risks he takes.Read more ›
But Lavin had a second career that powered his life. What started as dealing marijuana on his college campus ended up as one of the biggest cocaine rings on the East Coast that - at its pinnacle - was generating $60 million in annual sales.
Mark Bowden leads the reader through every stage of Lavin's life, which came crashing down when law-enforcement officials began to piece together his multi-layered cocaine business. As the dealing branched out, Lavin attempted to launder drug money through legitimate businesses. It leads to Lavin trusting an investor who is running his own set of illegal games, and ultimately helps destroy the drug empire.
Lavin is certainly not alone in the enterprise and Bowden does an excellent job in bringing each of the individuals to life. You get the feeling as if you are there, privy to insider's information while running fast and hard.
But there are questions that the reader is left to answer. Right and wrong may not necessarily be so obvious.
Law enforcement officials attempt to frighten suspects to quickly sign documents that give away certain rights before any formal charges are filed. People who have nothing to do with the case are harassed by law enforcement simply because they may have fleeting knowledge of a suspect.
During a court appearance, Lavin wonders about the lives of many in the audience who are in their 20's and 30's; he is sure that more than a few gawking at him are users and dealers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was very good it started out slow but then once you get into it, it's hard to put it down I just wished there were pics of Larry at youth when he started dealing and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by He is I and I am Him
Mark Bowden can make just about anything riveting, and Doctor Dealer is one of his best (although Blackhawk Down and Killing Pablo still top my list). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chad
If you live in the greater Philadelphia area, this is a must read book.Published 3 months ago by ted ellis
Bland and boring. Another story aimed towards "a really nice guy it was all a big mistake" type of narrative. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Frankenshred
A normal college kid goes from casual drug use to a million dollar cocaine kingpin in a few years. This book highlights how one choice can send on a path of criminality and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
This is a good book. I would say the other book Dr Snow written on this Doctor is the better of the 2 books if you want to read about the crimes of Larry Lavin.Published 7 months ago by True Crime Fan
Awesomely captivating and wonderfully detailed true story of a good man gone bad and the demise of his empire. Well done!Published 8 months ago by Allison
great read. amazing story. i am the same age as larry lavin and went to dental school at the same time. just didnt make the same amount of money as he did. Read morePublished 9 months ago by mark a turik
I can't say much more about Mark Bowden except I dig his writing style. If I was a writer, I think my books would have the same tone and style as his. Couldn't put it down.Published 10 months ago by R. Allen