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Contrabando: Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy Paperback – June 27, 2006
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"Don Henry is a warrior; and he's the real deal. He's a wonderful writer; and he carries some secrets in his back pocket some people wish he wouldn't bring out. Bring it, Mr. Ford." —Luis Alberto Urrea
"Don Ford snaps out, 'I thought [the drug smuggling] was a way to break the chains. I didn't want to shoot or kill anyone or have a violent overthrow of the government. I just wanted to steal a little wealth.' " —Charles Bowden
"[Ford] sees that continuing war as a farce, a squandering of tax dollars and human lives. That, Ford says, is why he’s speaking out about his experiences…The book is an unflinching document of high times and high terror in the dope trade, of getting caught just after Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984the opening shot in the war on drugsbut before that act was implemented." —Austin-American Statesman
"The really remarkable thing about Ford and his book isn’t so much the experiences he’s had…but rather the humanity and philosophical distance he maintains while having them. His sympathy for the plight of the working poor and disenfranchised, regardless of class, color, or country; his distaste for the indifference of the rich and the laws that favor them; his ability to step back and view the larger universe of the war on drugs, and his role in it, through the lens of a class-conscious, homegrown philosophy: They all mark him as a decent man." —The Austin Chronicle
"Don Henry Ford, author of Contrabando: Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy, said Mexico's drug economy has multiplied since the 1980s, when he smuggled marijuana. 'The money is just too big now,' he said." —Dallas Morning News
"Ford persevered for a number of reasons. 'I knew most of the people involved would not like what I had to say. The thought occurred that I might endanger myself and others. But I knew all of us had been damaged from our involvement in this business and that others are now in similar situations and must know the reality of this business,' he wrote. Ford thinks his story is worth telling in light of the ever-increasing war on drugs." —The Monitor
"Don Henry Ford, Jr. shows us first-hand what it was like smuggling dope across the Rio Grande. Lucky he's not dead. Reading this book will make you so high, you'll need a stepladder to scratch your ass." —Kinky Friedman
"Macho adventures aside, Ford also describes a life of double-crosses and dead friends, of battered whores and dirty cops, of ruined marriages and lost kids…He writes with remorse, loss and sadness…Contrabando is the real thing, a drug book by a smuggler who lived to tell the tale." —San Antonio Express-News
"Ford, 48, retraces his life as a marijuana smuggler in the Big Bend region in Contrabando: Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy. Ford describes Contrabando as a story about victims and survivors in the multibillion-dollar illicit drug trade, a story about ordinary people along the border who often get squeezed into smuggling or dealing drugs in poor towns like Balmorhea, Texas." —El Paso Times
"Contrabando is not written in the erudite prose of a commercial-media slickster who observes life from a perch. But it is a gritty work of nonfiction drawn from the gut of a cowboy who has lived his story."—Narco News
"All in all, I’m glad I know his story, since if I didn’t get it for Ford, from the voice on the edge, I-we- on the inside wouldn’t get it all, and this story 'about a world gone mad' is one we need to know." —Outlander's Voice
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
This book does not pussyfoot around the hard facts of the drug business and the economic ruin that forces so many into it, in both Mexico and the United States. Some will say that the things in this book can't be true, but that is because they don't go there. Some people DO go there, but Don Henry Ford is the only one to come back to write about it.
And he can really write! Like earth smells--beans frying in lard over a wood fire, coffee under crystal stars, green-sweet stickiness as he pinches seed heads on a crop, dank ruin as storms strip $600,000 of ripe cotton from its stalks, the hard rush of ozone and adrenalin as he pulls his daughters from an angry river in flood, blood-in-the-mouth fear in a dealer's motel room or a Mexican cave or a federal prison cell. And the warmth of caring for people and horses and making things grow. He's a writer who lives and breathes grit and blood and life itself.
And it's hard to argue with a witness like Don Henry Ford, a man who spent years enmeshed in the dark entrails of the business. And lived to tell the tale.
I felt like I needed a marking pencil. The writing is stilted and disjointed in places. I found repititions. Inaccuracies. But the story behind the words still has value. It's a flawed depiction taken from the front lines of this so-called war on drugs which is really a war on people. A flawed version of one that has actually been there is better than a well written version of those that have not.
Stephen King compared the skills needed to write a book to a box of tools. He went on to say if a person has a good story, they can write a decent book with a minimal amount of tools
I wrote Contrabando with a hammer, a crescent wrench, a pair of vice grips and a single slot bladed screw driver. I needed more tools.
I won't try to rewrite the book. Life has moved on; I've better and more timely subjects to address.
Ray Wylie Hubbard once said, be careful about the song you write because you might still be singing it thirty years later. To this day, Ray gets requests to sing up against the wall red-neck mother, quite possibly the worst song he ever wrote.
I know how he feels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yet another book that proves beyond a doubt what a freaking joke the 'war on drugs' is, and of the lives it destroys. Read morePublished 8 days ago by HeavyElectronicsBuyer
Good book if you are from west texas and can relate to the areaPublished 17 months ago by jokirk newbrough
Don is brutally honest in his writing. I wasn't sure if this was going to be a glorified self-gratifying piece on what he was able to get a way with, but was surprised and... Read morePublished on April 4, 2014 by Aaron Brown
Book is very good, especially if your from South Texas. I'm not an avid reader but the book was good.Published on May 5, 2013 by charles tidwell
this book is kidn of a quick read but good. i love all true crime books especially about smuggling. i enjoyed this. Read morePublished on November 9, 2012 by Johnny