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El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin Paperback – May 10, 2011


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El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin + El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency + The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo, the World's Most Wanted Drug Lord
Price for all three: $36.53

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; Original edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568586582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568586588
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 
“Todavía tengo problemas para recordar su rostro. Pero no me siento capaz de olvidar su historia”. —Charles Bowden. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Bowden was a contributing editor for GQ and Mother Jones; he also wrote for Harper's, the New York Times Book Review, and Esquire.

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Customer Reviews

Well 3,000+ people die every day from drugs the Cartels import into the USA.
Steven
I would have appreciated it, if the writer had been bold enough to appeal to US citizens and government to assume responsibility for the problem.
Theo vdL
This book is very interesting and I would recommend others to read it, it can help out for school topics.
Blue Rose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Adam Stayer on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I work on the border of Juarez, Mexico. I deal with issues that these guys have created regularly. This is a very good and true, seems to be, account of the life in the most corrupt goverment. Juarez is a battle zone and this guys manages to explain how it got this point. The editing was superb and the narration well thought out. I think that many who have an interest in Mexican/narco politics will find this as a great tool to understand the culture that the narco-terrorists have crafted over many years. Failed drug policies are evident as the reader goes thru the twists and turns of a true sicario. I wish all people would be able to understand and help a nation that is on the verge of collapse.

I see the complaints and the jabs that others have given Bowden, but this guy seems to have a true interest in why Mexico is as corrupt as it is. The Mexican people are truly the victims and Mr. Bowden has once again outlined and told the stories that need to be told. Well done sir. Now I am off to read Down by the River. Forthcoming review of that novel as soon as I can.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blake on October 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
"El Sicario" gives us a voice reaching out from the violent landscape of modern Mexico. This is an unforgettable account of one man's life as an assassin, a predator for the cartels which have turned some of Mexico's border areas into war zones, and in his life we see the development and evolution of today's Mexico roughly from the 1980s to the present. There have been some good books recently published on the current drug war raging in our neighbor across the Rio Grande, including John Gibler's recent "To Die In Mexico" and especially "Murder City" by Charles Bowden, who interviewed the former assassin for a documentary and edited their conversations into this book, this is one of the best because instead of just statistics and figures, it gives us a pure form of journalism in the form of one man's testimony. "El Sicario" is a raw trip into the heart of darkness.

The Sicario divides his life into three basic sections: His childhood, his introduction to the cartel lifestyle as a young adult and finally his eventual exit from the cartel world, choosing to convert to Pentacostal Christianity of the variety so popular among Hispanic communities. There is a strange elegance to the way the Sicario guides us through each section, there is no attempt here to be flashy or "literary" and yet the words in their raw form have real power and pull. Unlike the flashy tales one gets in gangster movies like "Scarface," the Sicario's tale begins with humble roots in the typical, poverty-ridden surroundings of working class Mexicans, he describes his family and a father who worked to death to barely provide essentials. In a powerful moment the Sicario describes his one happy memory of a family outing: To the circus where they couldn't afford luxury snacks.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Thomas on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
After hearing so much news almost on a weekly basis about the horrors that are currently taking place in various states in Mexico, mainly in Ciudad Juárez, I came across El Sicario after seeing the preview for the documentary "Room 164" and thought it may be insightful to hear it from the "horse's mouth" so to speak. I have to honestly say after reading this book completely from cover to cover it really blew my mind. It is literally to the point the you refuse to believe some of the things El Sicario is revealing, but it is just too detailed, emotional, and so full of feeling that it is difficult to doubt. Not to mention various footnotes verifying many of the stories he tells. El Sicario is a chilling autobiography but the scariest and most uncomfortable thing about it is not even the sinister acts of violence he committed and witnessed, but the unprecedented level of corruption in Ciudad Juárez. I mean corruption is a serious understatement to say the least. This autobiography is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you're brave enough to hear the truth about Mexico definitely consider picking this one up. 5 Stars!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alan Petersen on June 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
According to the introduction the bulk of this book is based on the interviews with El Sicario (recorded for the documentary, El Sicario: Room 164) so it does read like a transcript more than an autobiography. There were a few of these hand-drawn sketches that didn't make much sense so not sure if it was filler for the book. They also got a little preachy not just on religion but on the government. I could have done without the editorial of the author (it wasn't content from the Sicario).

The book was Okay. It was interesting to read how this person started out as a pretty normal kid growing up in Mexico to becoming a monster. It's also chilling to read how he glosses over all the killing he has done now that he has found God without paying for his crimes. Not sure how carefully his story was verified but it was an interesting to read and it provides a glimpse how the situation in Mexico has gone from bad to worse over the last few years. The most chilling parts of course are when he describes the torture, murders, and other horrible things he did as a killer for the cartels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jose martinez on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
really enjoyed and learned if you can say that about the situation in mexico
i actually did feel like i was right there with the guy as he was telling his story
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