“I Am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons” – Luca Rastello Book Review

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From now on I am going to review books. I’ll make a short note about everything I’ll read which has anything to do with travelling or discovering the world. Let’s start with a reference to the latest entries about guns and mess in Colombia. Here’s what I learned from a book about selling the most desired Colombian product.

The first time I saw this book I immediately knew I had to read it. Short note about the author made it clear, Luca Rastello is a journalist specialised in criminal economy. Although cocaine is not legal, it has tremendous impact on social and political life in many Latin American countries. My recent travels along “reversed cocaine path” (from United Stated to Colombia) made me wonder about methods used by smugglers and the book seemed to have everything I needed to know how it works “under the hood”.

“I am the market…” consists of five chapters with dozens of stories on drug trafficking. The book reads fast, to complete it you’ll need just an evening or two. Despite general information about drug trails (mostly leading to Europe) and historical curiosities about cocaine market you’ll learn fully fledged (but expired!) method of smuggling drugs using marble slabs. The book has loads of black humour and surprisingly at some point it even takes you to Venezuelan farm, where the main character takes a break from selling drugs and breeds cattle (!).

Unfortunately I got the impression that sometimes author puts more emphasis on entertaining rather than providing reliable information. Furthermore, the story of a farmer in Venezuela and the main character that appears to be more of an artist than businessman made it hard for me to take this book seriously. Just to make it clear: movies about drug smugglers are fun but books written by journalists should provide honest coverage. Now I know that about half of the stories from “I am the market…” can be placed on the shelf together with fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. Thankfully the other half is quite decent and they actually helped me to understand typical smuggler, problems he has to cope with and showed the mindset needed for such business. And I even learned one more thing: nobody sane will write such book. Not today at least.

“I Am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons” on Amazon.com

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