[Read] ➳ Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail By Rusty Young – Motyourdrive.co.uk

Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail chapter 1 Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, meaning Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, genre Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, book cover Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, flies Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail 04ccccb4c28d8 Rusty Young Was Backpacking In South America When He Heard About Thomas McFadden, A Convicted English Drug Trafficker Who Ran Tours Inside Bolivia S Notorious San Pedro Prison Intrigued, The Young Australian Journalisted Went To La Paz And Joined One Of Thomas S Illegal Tours They Formed An Instant Friendship And Then Became Partners In An Attempt To Record Thomas S Experiences In The Jail Rusty Bribed The Guards To Allow Him To Stay And For The Next Three Months He Lived Inside The Prison, Sharing A Cell With Thomas And Recording One Of The Strangest And Most Compelling Prison Stories Of All Time The Result Is Marching PowderThis Book Establishes That San Pedro Is Not Your Average Prison Inmates Are Expected To Buy Their Cells From Real Estate Agents Others Run Shops And Restaurants Women And Children Live With Imprisoned Family Members It Is A Place Where Corrupt Politicians And Drug Lords Live In Luxury Apartments, While The Poorest Prisoners Are Subjected To Squalor And Deprivation Violence Is A Constant Threat, And Sections Of San Pedro That Echo With The Sound Of Children By Day House Some Of Bolivia S Busiest Cocaine Laboratories By Night In San Pedro, Cocaine Bolivian Marching Powder Makes Life Bearable Even The Prison Cat Is AddictedYet Marching Powder Is Also The Tale Of Friendship, A Place Where Horror Is Countered By Humor And Cruelty And Compassion Can Inhabit The Same Cell This Is Cutting Edge Travel Writing And A Fascinating Account Of Infiltration Into The South American Drug Culture


10 thoughts on “Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail

  1. says:

    This is one of the easiest books to handsell in my shop It s ideal for a long haul flight but just as good read at home during these long nights of curfew after Irma, Maria and the two flash flood tropical storms the media didn t mention Thomas McFadden was a drug dealer in South America He did it for the kicks and the money, he didn t do drugs himself He relied on paying off a network of thoroughly corrupt officials and never gave thought to one of them might sell him out Which they did.Newly convicted he arrived at the prison to be told he needed to rent or buy a cell, and if he had the money, he could have a very nice cell with all mod cons for a prison otherwise, it was the cold flags outside The prisoners run the prison They are in charge of job and food distribution, there are makeshift cafes, food booths and little shops Their families are allowed to spend time, including nights with them It is a brutal place full of violent men administering justice including public executions The prison staff just seem to handle the interface between the prison and the outside world Mostly they are extremely corrupt, so anything is available to a prisoner with money.Eventually Thomas gets his act together and has a very nice set up So nice he has a kind of bed and breakfast going, and Lonely Planet recommends Thomas cell as an unmissable place to stay when in Bolivia Really That s a very good illustration of truth being stranger than fiction.Thomas doesn t finish his sentence there though He gets sent to a much brutal and soul destroying prison where has no freedom That obviously taught him a lesson as he s a chicken farmer in Kenya now, and keeps his head well below the paraphet.Read it, just brilliant, just amazing Read Nov Dec 2014 Reviewed 30 Nov 2017


  2. says:

    While poorly written at times, this book was an incredible story about an unbelievable subject At one point I thought the overall narrative was over something that happens half way through a lot of non fiction books but that is when the book gets darker That is what makes this book worth all of its pages This book has made me dream of cocaine ingestion neither positive or negative and that is the view that is portrayed Jailhouse tourism may never take off worldwide, but this is an excellent story of how prison tours began somewhere and at times the poor spelling seemed to work for the story and maybe that is just how Australians spell.


  3. says:

    This book made me angry because it was so poorly written such an interesting story made into something so flat and annoying The narrator was not trustworthy in high school lit, we would have called him an unreliable narrator One of the faults of the first person narrative structure the narrator had no independent authority and the author didn t have the skill to bolster his narrator s credibility He would say, I did this bad thing, but I m not a bad guy and my reaction would be I don t know about that bucko, you sound like a smarmy drug dealer, with few morals the fact that you got caught and sent to a really crappy prison doesn t make you a good person or worthy of sympathy Also, there was no story arch The chapters were either stand alone vignettes And so, in 1000 words, that s how I started a store that were disconnected from any sort of greater structure, or they ended with the most obvious lead ins ever And so ends the story of my interactions with that person Or so I thought Little did I know that they were just beginning Its okay once, but every chapter in the second half of the book ended that way I was really disappointed because I bought this book while traveling in South America and I was very interested in the subject matter But in the end, I was so annoyed with the book that I rushed to finish just so I would be done with it Also, am I the only one who is not shocked at what was going on Do people not read the newspaper Crazy stuff happens all over the world Also, when I m told by the narrator over and over that people don t believe what happens in the prison and that the prisononers have to pay for their own cells, after a while, I get it People have to buy their own cells I ll not be shocked.


  4. says:

    Drug runner Thomas McFadden was the epitome of a likeable rogue who lead a charmed life But his luck ran out in Bolivia The most unintentionally funny part of the book was Thomas s outrage that the corrupt Bolivian official he bribed betrayed him.Arrested and kept in a holding cell for thirteen days, Thomas was robbed by his arresting officers which left him no money to buy food Frozen and starving Thomas begged to be moved to a prison The officers found this desire to be moved to prison hysterically funny Thomas soon found out why, starting with being transported by taxi to San Pedro prison being expected to pay.Thomas survived in San Pedro by his charm business acumen A terrifying place made bearable by copious amounts of drugs.Written in the first person this is Thomas s story So was Rusty merely an editor or recorder If the writer of the story, some extra insights would have been nice.Both men still appear to be close friends so obviously Thomas is happy for Young to claim sole credit for writing this view spoiler Thomas does owe Rusty his freedom hide spoiler


  5. says:

    When Thomas McFadden made a detour through Bolivia to get five kilos of cocaine through to Europe, justice finally caught up with him Smuggling drugs around the world since the tender age of 15, McFadden has been successful in destroying hundreds of lives around the world before he even landed in Bolivia As it turns out, you can t trust criminals and he found himself captured even though he had paid off his bribes You can tell I don t like the man, can t you The book starts off with McFadden at the La Paz airport, waiting to smuggle drugs through the customs when he gets arrested With this, his saga starts He is tortured by the drug police, but the interesting part of the story comes when he is actually shifted to the San Pedro prison He finds that inmates have to pay for everything there, including the taxi fare to reach there and an entry fee to have the honour of going to prison I won t elaborate much on this since McFadden talks in detail about it.Life in San Pedro is like being in a slum area It has its own economy and its own class system This leaves prisoners not much better off than on the outside With poverty stricken prisoners most of whom end up in prison in the first place due to poverty being expected to finance themselves and their families completely, it is no surprise that crime thrives in the prison even than it does on the outside McFadden, however, was not that poor and he was able to get by with his prison tours to foreigners.The focus of the book is on McFadden s prison tours, a novelty that even Lonely Planet recommends He would bring in tourists and they would pay an official entry fee to enter To stay longer or spend the night, they would then pay a bribe For most foreigners, this was the experience of a lifetime Many ended up doing cocaine in prison, which McFadden supplied These tourists were what kept his spirits up during his time in San Pedro and some of them help him out He also falls in love during this time Drugs play a huge role in this narrative San Pedro produces the best cocaine in all of Bolivia, and it comes dirt cheap Unable to take the squalid life inside, many inmates turn to drugs including our hero After ruining the lives of many, McFadden now ruins his own by turning to cocaine I am not sure how ubiquitous drugs are in the prison system and in Bolivia in general, but McFadden makes it sound as if everyone there took cocaine as you and I would take water Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that he was majorly into drugs and drug culture even if he never actually consumed it before his stint in prison McFadden also believes that everyone in Bolivia consumes cocaine, which is factually incorrect The author, Rusty Young, does not show up at all until the last few pages The book itself is written as if McFadden is writing an autobiography, and Young s voice is absent This means that the reader gets a full dose of Yea for drugs which can put off many, including me McFadden has no regrets about smuggling poison around and he doesn t seem to be able to understand that he has done something WRONG He talks about his criminal career as if it were a game But really, a decent person wanting those kind of exciting adventures would try bungee jumping or white water rafting, not drug smuggling The novelty of the book did work on me and I enjoyed reading it I was able to put aside the fact that McFadden was a douchebag The kind of corruption and violence rampant within the prison was horrifying Poverty in Bolivia sounds pretty bad and the way that the prisoners hated Americans brings out how American interference in the area botched up farmers lives in the country The American war on drugs meant that they try to eliminate coca production in the country, which ultimately led to a lot of unemployment and poverty, increasing prison populations.The book is well worth a read if only to know and understand something that we have never come across before But if you are someone who has to absolutely like a protagonist in order to love the book, better skip it There is no getting around the fact that McFadden was a drug smuggler, and he did it for the thrills, and he never regretted his career and the lives he destroyed The only consolation is that he claims he no longer smuggles drugs But he wouldn t tell us if he were doing that, would he


  6. says:

    Having lived in Bolivia for the first twenty years of my life, where the goings on inside San Pedro are public knowledge, I can vouch for the veracity of the story exposed by Young McFadden, although it reads as stranger than fiction The bizarre, sometimes brutal, sometimes comic revelations of Marching Powder, are not as astonishing to me as they might be to someone unfamiliar with the way things are in South America , but even to my acquainted eye the book still made for interesting reading.My only objection is that McFadden often makes outrageous statements referring not only to San Pedro prisoners, but Bolivians in general Despite the fact that he only spent a few days in Bolivia before being incarcerated, McFadden seems to believe that San Pedro is a microcosm of Bolivian Society Take, for example hardly anyone in Bolivia admits to taking drugs, but how could you not take cocaine in a country where a gram is cheaper than a bear Not happy with saying that all Bolivians are junkies, McFadden goes on to say that they are all stupid, because there s not much oxygen up here the Bolivian brains don t develop properly Thankfully, this Bolivian born Australian, whose brain developed fully despite its early exposure to altitude, is aware that those are not Rusty Young s conclusions but Thomas McFadden s It is obvious that his memories and reasoning are distorted by his own addiction to cocaine and sleeping pills, not to mention his lack of education Alas, his views might contribute to reinforce existing misconceptions about an entire country, and its people.While thousands of struggling Bolivians make their livelihood in the controversial coca leaf plantations, the majority of them have never seen as much as a gram of the white powder that has made their country infamous.I have no doubt that Rusty Young would have been able to offer a much balanced, informed and humane insight into this subject had he used his own voice and perspective for the narrative This is demonstrated by the documentary on San Pedro Jail that he produced for ABC s Foreign Correspondent, which was about the jail, and not about Thomas McFadden.


  7. says:

    This real life account of an English drug dealer s time inside San Pedro prison reads like a thriller even if only 10% is true, then it s a pretty crazy place from having to buy your own cell to manufacturing the best cocaine in Bolivia, from wholesale bribery to prison tour guides, this has it all Easy to read, with very little of the violence you d suppose from this kind of story, the book offers a glimpse into a very different world.


  8. says:

    Ghost writer wanted I love a good ripping yarn tales of adventurous stupidity, derring do and the right mix of good and bad luck Throw in a good dose of local colour and corruption, and away you go But not this timeI can t believe how dull this book turned out to be Thomas bleats on and on ad infinitum about how crazy the jail is and how loco the situation is prisoners taking out mortgages on cells, imbibing in the purest cocain in the world, restaurants run by prisoners and even a cat that is a crack addict It s got all the ingredients for a heady gumbo of danger, corruption and there but for the grace of God go I.I felt like I was stuck at a dinner party next to the world s worst bore he d done everything, he was an expert at many things, but he d been betrayed by people he trusted and blah blah blah Everytime I d start to put the book down, something vaguely interesting would happen and I d perservere with another meandering story that disappeared into a cull de sac of nothingness.By the end, I was seriously hoping that Thomas would end up as someone s bitch and they d live happily ever after It would make it easier to pass all that cocaine, I guess.It did make me feel like a big, fat line of hoo haa though So, it was successful on a Pavlovian level.


  9. says:

    Everyone has one of those friends that drink too much and tell outrageous stories Things like The time I sat next to Hannah Montana in first class and she totally hit on me, The time I got lost in the NYC subways and spent the night hanging out with a bunch of homeless guys, or The time my boat almost sank but I was saved by a magical friendly dolphin If you re lucky, your friend is entertaining and the ridiculous stories are actually fun to listen to If you re unlucky your friend is a jackass and you start making up your own stories, in order to get away from him.Unfortunately Thomas McFadden strikes me as the second kind of friend And unfortunately again, he managed to land himself a publishing deal.While I have no doubt that prisons in Bolivia are filled with corruption, drugs and danger, I m not willing to believe much of what McFadden tells me He manages to be both a criminal mastermind and a Really Nice Guy manages to meet the Woman Of His Dreams manages to survive against all odds and become the Big Man on Prison Campus And manages to make James Fray look like a credible story teller So while the concept of the book is really fascinating, next time I ll find myself some nice nonfiction with an extensive bibliography in the back and leave this sordid memoir stuff to the Oprah Jerry Springer crowd.


  10. says:

    This is just one of those amazing true stories If a fiction author wrote it, you would think it was too unbelievable I dare anyone to try to read this book and remain non nonplussed by the fuctupedness in this story.The story takes place in a Bolivian prison which is unlike any in the world, I imagine The protagonist is a drug smuggler he was caught red handed and is sent to a bizarre prison in which you pay to enter and pay to own a cell The guards never really enter the prison grounds in general, and the prisoners are essentially allowed to live a free life within the prison walls Some prisoners live with their wives and children, some turn their cells into tiendas and restaurants The shit is just wild There is lots of coke and violence in the book, and much spectacle to it, which makes it entertaining It did lack a certain humility, or something akin to that I mean I completely empathized with the main character s experience in the prison, though it was fascinating it was horrible However, there is a lack of reform or an understanding of personal responsibility Everyone makes mistakes, and in no way did the crime of smuggling coke fit the punishment the main character experienced, but perhaps it fit the stupidity of the crime Lesson here do not smuggle coke The payoff is not worth the risk.There is a touch of exploration on how the US war on drugas effects countries like Bolivia That probably would have been interesting for the author to explore further At any rate it is a great read and an amazing story.


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