Breathtaking investigative journalism from the front line of the cocaine trade
When Colombia’s ‘King of Cocaine’, Pablo Escobar, was killed, the world thought the cocaine industry would crumble. But ten years later the country’s production had almost quadrupled, and for the last decade Colombia has produced more than 60 per cent of all the cocaine consumed in the world.
The drug is both a curse and a salvation for Colombians. Farmers grow coca for cash but fear discovery. Families must co-operate with drug-funded guerrillas or go on the run. Destitute teens become trained killers for a quick buck, in a ruthless underworld where few survive for long.
At the same time, tension grows between Colombia’s right-wing government and its socialist neighbours in Latin America. With the failed US war on drugs playing into this geopolitical brew, the future of cocaine is about more than what happens to street dealers and their customers.
Based on three years of research, and more than 100 interviews with growers, traffickers, assassins, refugees, police, politicians, and drug tourists, Cocaína is exceptional — a brilliant work of journalism, and an insight into one of the world’s most troubling industries.
‘Cocaína is accessible enough to provide an excellent introduction for readers unfamiliar with the Colombia’s highly complex history. Yet the material is also original and thought-provoking, providing an excellent and worthy addition to the growing body of literature on drug legalisation and its relation to postmodern ethics.’
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'The thing with Cocaína is that it is damn good without the author himself being too visible. Linton does not write himself into the story, he does not position himself on the issue of legalization … And this is certainly not a pamphlet about a drug; rather, it is an exposé on Colombia: a well-researched and loving portrait of a nation with an unusually violent contemporary history.'
Philip Teir, Dagens Nyheter
'There is something cinematic about his art of reporting: violent Spanish slang explodes into the narrative, contrasted with nature poetry. It is a story about catastrophe, yet without phony advice or solutions.'
Kleen in Sydsvenskan
‘A thorough piece of investigative journalism … From raiding gunships to the corridors of politics, Linton draws a depressing picture of a drug that has a stranglehold on a nation.’
‘A vivid picture of life in a country where the cocaine trade permeates all.’
‘The fascinating biography of a country famous for all the wrong reasons — Colombia.’