Pablo Escobar and His Excesses: Background information when reading The Sound of Things Falling

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The Sound of Things Falling

by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Sound of Things Falling
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Pablo Escobar and His Excesses

Pablo EscobarIf one of the first things that comes to mind when someone says the word "Colombia," is "drugs," that fault lies squarely on the shoulders of notorious drug mobster, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. Born in 1949 to a school teacher and a farmer, Pablo Escobar grew up in the suburbs of Medellin (pronunciation) and turned to a life of crime early on. He was believed to have sandblasted tombstones for resale and committed a number of petty crimes before turning to drugs in the '70s. Escobar and his vast empire were the conduit for massive amounts of cocaine smuggled to North America. In the mid '70s it is believed that Escobar ordered the killing of a rival Medellin drug lord, Fabio Restrepo and with this one decisive move, Escobar cemented his status in Medellin, and soon through all of Colombia.

Escobar's unrivalled growth as a much-feared drug lord was fortified by his philosophy: "plata o plomo," which translates to "silver or lead." To pave a "smooth" path, he used either silver (...

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