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Marching Powder

Marching Powder

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Rusty Young

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  • Publisher: Pan Books
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 26mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 2 July 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330419587
  • ISBN 13: 9780330419581
  • Illustrations note: 40 black & white halftones
  • Sales rank: 162

Product description

MARCHING POWDER is the story of Thomas McFadden, a small-time English drug smuggler who was arrested in Bolivia and thrown inside the notorious San Pedro prison. He found himself in a bizarre world, the prison reflecting all that is wrong with South American society. Prisoners have to pay an entrance fee and buy their own cells (the alternative is to sleep outside and die of exposure), prisoners' wives and children often live inside too, high quality cocaine is manufactured and sold from the prison. Thomas ended up making a living by giving backpackers tours of the prison - he became a fixture on the backpacking circuit and was named in the Lonely Planet guide to Bolivia. When he was told that for a bribe of $5000 his sentence could be overturned, it was the many backpackers who'd passed through who sent him the money. Sometimes shocking, sometimes funny, MARCHING POWDER is an always riveting story of survival. 'All the staples of the prison memoir are here: sadistic guards, an attempted break-out, the terrors of solitary confinement, the joys of freedom ...The result is a truly gripping piece of testimony' Sunday Telegraph 'This exotic, cautionary yarn opens the abyss beneath our wealthy world' Uncut

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Author information

Rusty Young is an Australian lawyer who met Thomas McFadden on a tour of San Pedro. He was so impressed by him that he stayed there (voluntarily) for three months in order to write his story. Thomas McFadden is now a free man, living in London.

Customer reviews

By Jessica Buckley 12 Jun 2014 5

This book can suit so many people, fans of true crime or not. From the start, one is left in a constant state of questioning as to what and why certain actions are being done. It is a beautiful book that I recommend to everyone without question. It also includes a crack-addicted cat... so there's that.

By Karen Crawford 06 May 2011 3

I did enjoy reading this book, not the best book I've ever read but enjoyable and interesting enough.
I agree completely with the other reviewer- it was only about Thomas' time in the prison and I wish there was more about what happened afterwards.
Thomas was a self confessed drug trafficker though and I struggled with that fact through the book, but he has done his time and that should be that I guess.

By John Harrison 25 Mar 2011 4

Having just finished reading this intriguing account of Thomas McFadden's time in the San Pedro Bolivian jail, I am most interested in any follow up to the story.
What and where is Thomas today?
Where is Rusty and what is he doing now?
Has the release of this astounding story had any difference to the running of the jail?
Has it resulted in any clean out of the system, or is it still the same corrupt and discusting situation that exists today?
Has Thomas caught up with any of the tourists who visited and supported him?