In the middle of reading ‘Marching Powder’

I am reading this book called Marching Powder about a Bolivian Prison by an Australian backpacker called Rusty Young.

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 young Australian journalisted went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas’s illegal tours. They formed an 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. The memoir, Marching Powder, was released in 2003.

A film adaptation has been announced with the rights to the book with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

The prison itself is fascinating, the corruption and the drugs and lives inside a prison like this. The worst realization was the understanding that the prison has a better economy than the rest of Bolivia, which is why family members CHOOSE to stay in the prison. This, for example is a normal scene from the prison.

Scene inside of San Pedro Prison in La Paz, Bolivia

The book however grates on one’s nerves, the tone forever being “You Won’t Belieeeeve what happens in a South American Prison”. Much like the 2012 movie Argo. WOAH MAI GAWD THEY WENT INTO AN ARAB BAZAAR AND CAME OUT ALIVE NO INFECTIONS EITHER TAKE DECORATIONS, MEDAL, OSCAAAR.

The Wiki page is far better organized. Here are a few links.

San Pedro Prison:
Runnerup: Guardian Student Travel Writer of the Year 2009:
Photo Journal:
Rusty Young has already made a documentary about this:

But that is not the reason I am posting this. I read a review on Goodreads, which pretty much knocked my wind off in that one line. This lady writes,

“Not amazed, as its a third world prison and they will never amaze me…”

Scares me that Brad Pitt is attempting this.