But the fun of the book is not what it teaches us about business ethics, international trade, or even cocaine. If you are a scholar working on the real world economics and social-political dynamics of the international drug trade, this book is not required reading. But if you want a good story told by an unreliable narrator full of fascinating characters, missteps and lucky getaways, priests who smuggle to support their church and hookers with hearts of gold, gambles and gamblers, cons and con artists, and a realistic portrait of how unglamorous, difficult, and most likely short the life of the drug smuggler actually is, then you’ll have a splendid time reading this book. Feel free to take it on the plane.


Clancy Martin is professor and chair of philosophy at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine. His recent novel, How to Sell, has much more to say about cocaine.