Marching Powder

Marching Powder

  • Paperback
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Description

A true story of friendship, cocaine and South America's strangest jail.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 twenty-something Australian law graduate travelled to La Paz and joined one of Thomas's illegal tours. What followed took both men by surprise: they formed a strong and 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. Marching Powder is a shocking, sometimes darkly comic account of the life in San Pedro. In this bizarre prison, inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants, and hundreds of 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 and crime are never far away, 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 makes life bearable-even the prison cat is addicted to crack.Yet amid the corruption, brutality and the daily struggle for survival, Marching Powder is also the tale of an unlikely friendship, forged in the oddest of circumstances, between a drug smuggler and a lawyer. It is the story of one of the strangest places on earth, where horror is leavened by humour and where cruelty lives side by side with compassion.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 148.6 x 214.1 x 18.5mm | 358.33g
  • Pan Macmillan Australia
  • Macmillan Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • illustrations, (some colour ), portraits, (some colour )
  • 073291180X
  • 9780732911805

Review quote

Thomas McFadden was a minor drugs dealer in Bolivia who was summarily arrested and thrown into jail, the notorious San Pedro Prison. Within the grim walls of the corrupt institution, he discovered a world which mirrored many of the wrongs of South American society at large: bribery, drugs, intimidation and violence at every level. McFadden needed to raise $5,000 to get released and how he managed this - for instance, by giving backpackers tours of the prison - is much of the story. Inevitably, Marching Powder recalls the nightmarish world of Midnight Express, but is sufficiently different in its own right to remain compelling. Young's account was written partly during a three-month stay with the unfortunate McFadden and reeks of authenticity. Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps, but those who enjoyed Killing Pablo may see this often surreal history as some sort of follow- up and it should do well.show more

About Rusty Young

Rusty Young grew up in Sydney, Australia. He studied Finance and Law at the University of New South Wales and currently lives in Colombia, where he teaches English.show more