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Marching Powder : A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine and South America's Strangest Jail - Rusty Young

Marching Powder

A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine and South America's Strangest Jail

Paperback Published: 1st September 2013
ISBN: 9781742613437
Number Of Pages: 468

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The true story of an English drug-smuggler, a notorious Bolivian prison and enough cocaine to cover the Andes ...

Rusty Young, a twenty-something Australian law graduate, was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, an English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. When Rusty met Thomas, they formed a surprising yet instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas's experiences in the jail. The result is one of the most compelling prison stories of all time.

Marching Powder is a shocking, sometimes darkly comic account of 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 women and children live with imprisoned family members. Violence and crime are never far away, and the jail contains some of Bolivia's busiest cocaine laboratories. 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.

About the Author

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.

Industry Reviews

"A unique window on a bizarre and corrupt world" Publishers Weekly

"Travel literature of a very special and captivating kind" Booklist

A must read for South American tourists


For the same reason that the book exist is that the setting exist as a tourist destination and intrigued metro the point that I was dumbfounded



Absolute must read


Heard Rusty interviewed and couldn't wait to get the book - what an absolutely fascinating read. Couldn't put the book down - read it over a couple of days (had a life interrupting!!). Totally unbelievable world - but yet it is. Rusty has captured Thomas's story perfectly.

Hawkes Bay New Zealand


This book has to be read to be believed


I purchased this book on a whim as I saw the second book by the same author which looked interesting based on the blurb and thought I should probably read this one first. I will definitely be going back for the next book.




4.7 3


ISBN: 9781742613437
ISBN-10: 1742613438
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 468
Published: 1st September 2013
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.0  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Number: 1

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