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am 20. März 2017
Mir hat der Stil sehr gut gefallen und die Story ebenfalls. Das Tempo ist sehr hoch und auf mich wirkte die Erzählung authentisch.
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am 20. Juli 2014
The novel opens with an attack by joint Mexican forces and the American DEA on a Sinaloa poppy field, the poppies burn and Art Keller, the DEA agent and protagonist, sitting on a ridge is looking down into the red burning valley. He reflects how Hieronymus Bosch would depict fighting the War on Drugs. He has flash backs of the Vietnam war, of the exfoliant called Agent Orange and the notorious Operation Phoenix designed by the CIA, and Keller was one of these Company Cowboys who were active in the program. Now he is part of Operation Condor (not to be confused with the historic Operation Condor, implemented by right wing South-American dictatorships in the 1970s) spraying the poppy fields with 24-D from helicopters.

Power of the Dog follows five equally important characters through 35 years charting the evolution of the Mexican "trampoline" and the Sinaloa cartel to an internationally powerful organization. According to Winslow, it took him nearly six years of research to combine modern historic facts and fiction to describe the War on Drugs which is by far America's longest war since President Nixon's declaration in 1973. More than a trillion dollars und hundreds of thousand murders later, drugs are more plentiful than ever. The author realistically describes how the War on Drugs has created multinational corporations loaded with sociopaths, because in a world where violence rules the scum floats to the top.

This novel, beefed up with hard-nosed journalism, delivers a horrifying dose of reality in the theater of violence as Art Keller follows the advances of the drug economy from the introductory Operation Condor in Sinaloa in1975 to Guadalajara in 1984 and El Salvador in 1985, Mexico and the NAFTA agreement in 1992, and through the late nineties. Art Keller follows drug enforcement agencies from the poppy fields to South America and back to the Mexican border, all spiced with the politics of influence peddling and political delusion. The novel covers a bewildering sprawl of Irish mobsters, Italian mafiosi, cold warriors, Sandinistas, Contras, deluxe hookers, corrupt priests, Reagan, Bush, Giuliani, Colombian drug lords, Mexian cartels, campesinos, gomeros, torture, despair, murder, etc. But Winslow makes a whole lot of sense of it, well, if war makes sense at all. He also said that nothing in this novel is pure fiction, no cruelty is invented, no massacre, not the children thrown from a bridge, not the mutilated corpses and not the human head sent by mail - that ninety percent depicted in the novel really happened.

Art Keller is pursuing Adán Barrera, a man who once deceived him and rose to top dog in the netherland of drugs. In the course he is discovering a far-reaching infrastructure along US-Mexican border where North American firepower meets South American cartels commanding more power and higher profits than some global corporations. Art Keller's personal journey, navigating this particular nightmare, illustrates how deeply intertwined cartels and politics are. When government leaders become gravediggers of society, the price of any attempt to control illegal drugs is getting too high and morally even questionable. Although ex CIA operative and now DEA agent, Art Keller introduces and closes this monumental tale, he is far from being the only protagonist in the novel, as this is a whirlpool of characters in all shades of black and grey. Winslow describes a three-pronged operational structure, the drugs (originating mostly in Columbia) flow through Mexico to the United States. Money flows from the U.S. back into Mexico. So far, this is all fairly straight forward and has a long real life history. The third component in these dealings are lawmakers in Washington who gladly accept that the Barrera Federación is doing their dirty business of delivering weapons to covert Central American militias aligned with U.S. intelligence. Here, Winslow recalls the bizarre Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, involving some sort of shadow government within the Reagan White House, but in the end, the organizational talent, colonel Oliver North had to bite the bullet - despite a lost weekend of red-hot running shredders in his offices. In the novel, the guns are supplied by the Irish mobsters, which makes them part of the payment for drugs. Like the Barreras, the mob obviously has its own assortment of ruthless and dangerous individuals, represented by its star killer, an Irishman named Sean Callan.

All this testosterone has to be balanced by a woman and Winslow delivers: the incontestable beauty of a femme fatale, the deluxe hustler Nora Hayden. Rising from the bottom of society, for Hayden there's no question that her striking looks can win her whatever she wants from rich and powerful older men. And no, Nora Hayden isn't the clichéd hooker with a heart of gold, she rather exists at the other end of the variety - a drop-dead gorgeous call girl with figurative balls-of-steel you could roll her up and down Paseo de la Reforma. She learns early on to distance herself from her work and to invest her money wisely, this is where her path crosses Dog's other plot threads. Hayden becomes intimate with both Sean Callan of the Irish mob and Adán Barrera of the Sinaloa cartel. More interesting is her platonic relationship with the father figure of Mexican Bishop Juan Parada, who devotes his work for the poor because it's just the kind of emotional bond that Keller hopes to exploit in undoing the Barrera dynasty.

No one since James Elroy has unveiled the sclerotic and morally troubled heart of the American dream so savagely and at the same time cleverly adding a pointed political dimension to his saga as Don Winslow with The Power of the Dog. The troubling part is that most of what Winslow depicted in the novel really happened. Anyone who's spent time reading newspapers or is living in any of the U.S. states along the border with Mexico or within Mexico will recognize many of these events.
22 Kommentare| 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 17. Juni 2013
For a long time now I find it very hard to get my hands on books that are of real high quality. The same ideas are being recycled over and over, often the language is flawed, the characters are cliché, unbelivable or the entire story reeks of education of the reader and the agenda of the author.

None of that will you find in "the power of the dog". It's really great to read, nice, original wording, great dialogs and of course the whole scope of the storry is just magnificent. The characters apear natural, believable, sophisticated, their actions reasonable and interesting because often unexpected. You learn something about a part of this world and its history ... it's just great, really.

The book is about the Mexican (and to some extend rather Middle- and Southern-American) drug "business" and the involvent of the US efforts against it - how it all came to the current situation. The historical sweep reaches as far back as to the end of the Vietnam war in the early seventies. It includes various agencies, countries, US administrations ... the whole enchilada.

On the other hand this is not (just) a fact book. This is also a very entertaining criminal story. You follow the "hero" from the start of the DEA and his first days in Mexico through the destruction of the old cartel, the establishment of the new federation of cartels and so on ... it's a very personal story - his life, his actions, mistakes, victories, ... family life, everything. The author has really succeeded in presenting the big picture by telling the story of a single man.

Of course there's one problem: I can't tell how accurate the whole thing is. The impression I got is that everything was very well researched and presented in detail. However you can achieve that impression and tell a story that is in collision with historical facts. Would be nice to know if this book represents the truth or is just another fraud like the story where the US Navy gets the Enigma machine out of a German submarine where in reality that was done by the British. So one should be cautious to believe everything without checking.
0Kommentar| 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 12. April 2017
This is an extremely complex and ambitious novel, which certainly took a huge research by the author on the dynamics of the drug trade between Mexico and the United States. I don’t know the topic well, but the impression I got from reading it is that the author reports real facts, though of course the characters and specific details of their stories are fictional. But they are absolutely plausible.
While reading I saw in my mind scenes from the film “Sicario” and I felt the same feeling of discomfort, but a thousand times amplified by the evocative power of the written word.
The story is engaging, and so shocking, when the author shows the heinous acts of violence and murder. Some sequences leave in suspense and urge you to continue reading until you learn how it ends. It contains so many double and triple games that it is difficult to see a twist as it arrives. Maybe you know it’s coming, but you have no idea what will happen.
Moreover I particularly liked the connection between the beginning of the novel and the end of one of the last chapters.
In general this is a book that must be tackled with the intention of reading it in a short period, because the abundance of detail puts a strain on the reader’s memory. Personally I think this is a good thing for a novel, as it is a sign of a great work of structuring the plot and because it stimulates me as a reader.
Conversely, there are some aspects which have prevented me from giving it full marks.
The novel offers a lot of info-dump on the drug trade, politics, and everything about it. I understand that it is essential to understand the context in which the plot takes place, but I had a hard time reading all this information and I tended to skip it, without this making me miss anything essential to the understanding of story, because I was more interested in characters. All this often breaks the action, because there is an alternation of told pages, which tend to bore you (unless you are interested in the subject), and real action.
There are also too many characters. It isn’t a problem in itself, but their excessive amount makes strenuous to feel empathy for them. It is difficult to “feel” them in yourself, and when you succeed, then they disappear for tens of pages.
In particular, the decision to dedicate each of the first three chapters to a character is quite distracting. I was about to give up at the second chapter, because I did not see any relevance with the first. It seemed another story. Only at the end of the third I started reconnecting things and appreciating the plot, but not all readers can go on like this, because the chapters are very long.
Finally, there really is a lot of violence, shown in a very graphic way, which makes it not suitable for people easily suggestible. I myself was happy to have finished the reading, because at times the book was having a bad impact on my mood. Also this aspect is not negative in itself, because it shows how the book manages to engage the reader, but personally I don’t like this kind of deep involvement with violent and often disgusting acts.
In other words, it’s a great book, a powerful novel, but I would have preferred not to have read it, because it left me with many negative feelings. For this reason I don’t think I will read its sequel.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Kindred Intentions
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am 17. August 2017
Don Winslow ist ein Bestsellerautor. Das "wird" man nicht – das "ist" man; und zwar dann, wenn man viele Bücher verkauft (ok, ok, das ist die Idee, die hinter "Best"Seller steckt...). Das gelingt im Suspense-Bereich nur, indem man außergewöhnlich spannende Bücher schreibt. Erfolg im Buchgeschäft ist schwer zu planen und noch schwerer zu erreichen. Seit 1994 aber sammelt Winslow wichtige Auszeichnungen in diesem – dem klassischen Literaturbetrieb obskuren – Teil der Literaturwelt ein. Spannend zu schreiben ist nicht leicht. Spannend, interessant und gut recherchiert zu schreiben ist noch schwieriger. Mit diesem Buch hat er wieder mal gezeigt, dass es geht! Jedenfalls wenn man Don Winslow ist. Wahrscheinlich hilft ihm, dass er (seit Beginn der "Nuller-Jahre") auch TV- und Movie-Scripte schrieb. Wer in diesem speziellen Segment der US-Filmwelt überleben will, muss wirklich GUUUUUT schreiben können.
Ok, über die Handlung dieses Buches haben viele andere Rezensenten das Wesentliche geschrieben: Dass sich die 540 Seiten zeitlich über 30 Jahre erstrecken, dass es viel Brutales gibt, dass die Guten nicht immer die unbestritten Guten sind – dass Drogenhändler nicht die liebsten und beliebtesten Menschen auf der Erde sind.
Das alles fügt sich zu der erwähnten sauspannenden Story zusammen. Das alles hätte zweifelsohne eine "5" bei den Sternen verdient.
Aber ein Buch besteht nicht nur aus dem Text, sondern auch aus dem Layout. Was den Verlag verleitet hat, eine serifenlastige Schriftart in schmaler Form und kleinerer Größe zu wählen fragt sich der empörte Leser. Denn Bücher werden nicht nur bei bester Beleuchtung und in Stuhl-zu-Tisch-Abstand gelesen sondern auch in der Dämmerung am Strand, im Bett in der Schräglage – und im rumpeligen "public transport". Und in diesen und anderen Fällen versagt die Schrift! Sowas habe ich noch bei KEINEM Buch erlebt! Trotz fortgeschrittenen Alters benötige ich keine Lesebrille – dennoch Als "Vergleichsgruppe" schaltete ich eine deutlich jüngere Kollegin ein, der ich das Buch lieh. Auch sie war kurz davor, es in die Ecke zu schleudern: Wegen des unmöglichen Schriftbildes! Das Ganze führt also bei dieser Rezension zu einem Stern-Abzug.

Fazit: Ein superspannendes Buch mit einer packenden Story – das aber nur unter optimalen Bedingungen gelesen werden kann.
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am 2. Dezember 2011
Eines der besten Bücher, das ich in meinem Leben lesen durfte! Unabhängig von den sehr schön und überzeugend geschilderten individuellen Schicksalen, ich habe Mexico und seine Beziehung zur USA endlich verstanden! Das erwarte ich von Weltliteratur: ich erlebe persönliche Schicksale und verstehe darüber hinaus, was in uns und mit uns passiert. Großartig!!
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am 30. Dezember 2016
intense and dramatic from the get-go, this book had me glued to it. I didn't want it to end. If you're into the Netflix show Narcos, this book is for you! You'll get sucked right into the world of south and Central American drug cartels and the dark underworld they move around in.
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am 30. Dezember 2016
Absolutely brilliantly written book. Would fully recommend. Great character building and a brilliantly researched topic matter that makes this an easy page turner.
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am 25. Juli 2015
Aufgrund der realistischen Darstellung der Mafia Aktivitäten fand ich das Buch sehr schockierend. Der Roman ist gut und spannend erzählt. Es ist ein Buch, das man nicht weglegt, weil ein Vorfall den anderen jagt und Art Keller, der Grund hat, die Drogenbosse zu jagen, keine Ruhe findet und immer etwas zu tun hat.
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am 22. Juli 2015
I've read this book in a week, while having a full time job an a demanding family. Well researched, plausible and close to reality. At the end it drags a bit, but.....
It kept me reading and wanting to continue reading. What else to ask from a book.

PERFECT! Than you, Mr Winslow
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