BLOW is the unlikely story of George Jung's roller coaster ride from middle-class high school football hero to the heart of Pable Escobar's Medellin cartel-- the largest importer of the United States cocaine supply in the 1980s. Jung's early business of flying marijuana into the United States from the mountains of Mexico took a dramatic turn when he met Carlos Lehder, a young Colombian car thief with connections to the then newly born cocaine operation in his native land. Together they created a new model for selling cocaine, turning a drug used primarily by the entertainment elite into a massive and unimaginably lucrative enterprise-- one whose earnings, if legal, would have ranked the cocaine business as the sixth largest private enterprise in the Fortune 500.
The ride came to a screeching halt when DEA agents and Florida police busted Jung with three hundred kilos of coke, effectively unraveling his fortune. But George wasn't about to go down alone. He planned to bring down with him one of the biggest cartel figures ever caught.
With a riveting insider account of the lurid world of international drug smuggling and a super-charged drama of one man's meteoric rise and desperate fall, Bruce Porter chronicles Jung's life using unprecedented eyewitness sources in this critically acclaimed true crime classic.
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Bruce Porter, a former newspaper reporter and editor of Newsweek, teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Connoisseur, among other publications.From Kirkus Reviews:
The up-your-nose, in-your-face life of George Jung, the high-school football star from small-town USA who became the American linchpin of the Colombian cocaine connection. Relying on extensive interviews with Jung and other key figures, Porter (Journalism/Brooklyn College) recounts a sleigh- ride-to-hell story of how 60's hippie innocence turned into 80's megadepravity. Porter dwells too long on Jung's unexceptional childhood (poor grades, risk-taking, shaky family life) but picks up steam when his subject comes of age--as a likable, handsome, well-muscled hedonist--and takes off for California and a haze of sunbathing, sex, pot, and LSD. Soon enough, Jung becomes chief marijuana importer to a number of prestigious East Coast colleges. Likening himself to Butch Cassidy, he moves his operation to Mexico and makes a mint until a series of busts stops him--temporarily. In prison, Jung befriends a young Carlos Lehder and links up with the Medell¡n coke cartel. The money bandied about is staggering: The Colombian suppliers gross $35 billion a year, and Jung buys a house just to stash his cash (lining floors and walls with $100 bills): ``Money, Learjets, fast cars, wild women, houses with maids,'' is how he recalls it later. Inevitably, the roller-coaster hits the steep downward slope: paranoia, as Jung snorts mountains of coke; a heart attack in his mid-30s; a car-bomb attack by Lehder, by now a business enemy; scary trips to Colombia, during one of which Jung watched coke czar Pablo Escobar execute a police informer; a flurry of arrests and escapes; finally, the Big Bust. But, as always, Jung comes out unscathed, turning state's witness (with Escobar's approval) to sing against Lehder. Set scot-free in exchange for his testimony, Jung now works in a legit delivery service, transporting fish up and down Cape Cod. How a happy hippie blew it on blow--finely researched, told with pizzazz. (Illustrations) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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