Book Review: Blow by Bruce Porter
Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
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‘Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All’ by Bruce Porter tells the real story of George Jung, who was the largest importer of cocaine to the United States in the 70s and 80s.
As the full title of the book already suggests, George Jung led an extraordinary life that not only resulted in this book, written by Bruce Porter, but later also made it to the big screen. Most of us will remember the 2001 hit movie ‘Blow’, directed by Ted Demme and starring Johnny Depp as Boston George (Jung’s nickname) and Penelope Cruz as Jung’s wife. The movie, which is directly based on Bruce Porter’s book, made George Jung famous across the US and far beyond its borders.
Jung grew up in a middle class family in Weymouth, a small town in Massachusetts, USA. At high school he made some fame as a football player. But when he reached university, Jung started using soft drugs and soon after he started dealing these drugs as well. Blinded by the easy money that he was making, Jung stopped his studies and expand his smuggling business by transporting marijuana from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Unfortunately for him, Jung got arrested during one of his smuggling trips and ended up in Danbury prison. His cellmate in this Connecticut based prison was Carlos Lehder, a German / Columbian stolen cars smuggler with connections to Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel. After their release, Lehder and Jung go in business together, smuggling large quantities of cocaine from Columbia to the USA. Their supplier is the Medellin Cartel and usually the cocaine is smuggled into the US by small private airplanes. Being just the middle man in the cocaine trade, Jung made millions of dollars, building up a fortune of over 100 million dollar. However, things go wrong again for Jung, hunted down by the DEA and betrayed by his friends and business partners, he ends up in prison again At the same time, he loses all his money when his bank accounts get frozen. Jung is still in jail until this very day and his projected release date is set on November 27, 2014.
Porter did an excellent job, researching and writing the life story of George Jung and his involvement in the largest drugs trade in history. As usual the book is much better and more detailed then the movie. So, we definitely recommend to read the book, even when you saw the movie already. You will not be disappointed and get some new insights on the life of Jung. Apart from that, there are also some interesting contradictions between the book and the movie.
To conclude, Bruce Porter definitely deserves an applause for his exhaustive research on this book and translating it into an easy to read book that will catch your attention from start till finish. I can highly recommend this book as one of the finest non fiction work that I’ve ever read, regardless of the topic.