El Narco

El Narco

Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

Book - 2011
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The world has watched stunned at the bloodshed in Mexico. Thirty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. And it is all because a few Americans are getting high. Or is it? The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters and drug agents at the problem. But in secret, Washington is confused and divided about what to do. Who are these mysterious figures tearing Mexico apart? they wonder. What is El Narco?

El Narco draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico's drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the last decade. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains. And it has created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of men-at-arms from Guatemala to the Texas border. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico reporting on the drug wars from the front lines. This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with firsthand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, c2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781608192113
Branch Call Number: ANF 363.450972 GRI
ANF 363.450972 GRI
Characteristics: vi, 321 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm


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Jul 17, 2014

I am sorry but this book reads like a newspaper. There are stories that get started and then put on hold so side stories that are supposed to explain events can be told and then we go back to the main assertion and then we hear in detail about someone's life or activity and then jump to another cartel and so on. Rather than build a story the author has written a whole bunch of stories about different characters and activities in the Mexican drug world and then pasted them into this book. He takes great care not to blame the Americans and their policies too much, and deals not at all with the money some of the groups in the US, including I'm sure "legitimate" companies, are making. He tells us the American weapons manufacturers are making big money from this but it is presented as a fact instead of a scathing indictment of American greed. The final solution might be legalization but he presents it so mildly that it's almost like he'd rather have us believe a miracle from somewhere else will fix this. My rating is for the amount of facts and details, not the storytelling itself.

nancyale Oct 27, 2011

Interview in NPR:


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