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Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers Hardcover – September 10, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1781680735 ISBN-10: 1781680736 Edition: 1st

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Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers + El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680735
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published in Mexico as Los señores del narco in 2010, this dry translation brings Mexican investigative journalist Hernández's exposé about drug trafficking in Mexico to an English-speaking audience. Five years in the making, it's an in-depth, unforgiving look at the deep-rooted corruption that has allowed the cartels to flourish; they now influence and control vast swaths of the country. Numerous anecdotes and interviews flesh out a decades-long narrative, touching on everything from CIA and DEA involvement, to how the drug lords run their empires from prison, to the way these powerful men live and die. It's a scathing, sobering report, as Hernández lays the blame not just on the drug cartels, but on all those who exercise everyday power from behind a false halo of legality to make their law of ÿsilver or lead'  a reality. While appendices containing glossaries of acronyms and short bios do much to reduce reader confusion, there's still an immense and exhausting amount of information to absorb. Those willing to slog through the dense bits will find a thought-provoking portrait of the crime and corruption that dominates our southerly neighbor. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Most Americans are aware of the carnage wrought upon Mexico by the powerful drug cartels. Still, this account of the rise and continued domination by these cartels is both shocking and unsettling. Hernandez, a widely respected investigative journalist, first published this work in Mexico in 2010, and many of her charges and warnings have been confirmed by subsequent events. According to Hernandez, Mexico is already a “narco-state.” That is, the cartels have become thoroughly embedded into key sectors of Mexican society, including the military, the police forces, the courts, and both the local and federal legislatures. Utilizing seemingly authentic secret files and credible sources, she exposes high-level corruption with mind-numbing details, and she doesn’t shrink from flinging accusations of both incompetence and complicity at former president Calderon, hailed in the U.S. for launching the “war” against the cartels. Critics within Mexico have accused Hernandez of painting with too broad a brush. Perhaps so, but she still presents a convincing portrait of a society poisoned by its worst elements and presenting a serious challenge for our own country. --Jay Freeman

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Customer Reviews

It doesn't help that the translation is poor; I am fluent in Spanish so I could see how very literal it is .
barbara mcclatchie
It is not the definitive book on this subject and falls short in the end because a)it needed more detail b)it needed to better clarify the players.
Joel L. Gandelman
This book shows how the Mexican government doesn't intend to stop the drug traffic, it wants it's cut...it's part of the proceeds.
Bushrod Lake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Eric F. Kaufman on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I, like others I'm sure, was waiting for this book for a bit. I had pre-ordered it weeks before it came out and it represents about the tenth book I've read on the subject. I've lived in Mexico for one year, speak passing Spanish, and before my time in Mexico itself I lived in San Diego directly on the US/Mexico border.

If you're looking for an accessible and easy read on growth, impact, and interactions of narco cartels in Mexico, don't get this book. One of my personal favorites is The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America. In that, you'll get a very engaging and straight forward book that lays out, with graphic description, the corruption, violence, and destabilization caused by narcotics cartels in Mexico.

In Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers, however, you're going to be exposed to a long stream of dates, names, and places. The writing is laden with facts and as others have pointed out, it is a difficult read.

As an example, most books on narco cartels talk about "El Chapo" Guzman being smuggled out of jail in a laundry cart. It was the popular story and it certainly is Hollywood-esque so it just continues to get repeated through most books. You'll find that very few books on narco cartels involve actual in-country first person research. Anabel Hernandez however is a glaring exception and lays out the math with interviews, witnesses, and transcripts to show how Guzman was dressed up as police officer and simply walked out the front door.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stephen John O'Connor––Author on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unlike the first three reviews on this page, I found Narcoland to be a clear and detailed account of the organized crime in Mexico. The author was not afraid to name names and pinpoint dates and places. For those looking for an easy read of a difficult and contorted subject, I wish you luck. Perhaps a children's book is more what you are looking for. I live in Mexico and watch closely the day to day developments. Narcoland makes for an indepth understanding of the dynamics taking place. The author was brave to even have begun this book. I gave it 5 stars and I meant it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. A. Hadley on November 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The information is great and far-reaching, she knows all the personalities involved and names them, no matter the cost to herself. However, the book is tough to wade through. It was written like a report to be submitted to people familiar with the situation, not someone trying to get informed. I had a hard time keeping the cast of characters straight. However, by the end, after the entire situation is spelled out for you, the evidence she presents is simply overwhelming. You have looked into the dragon's mouth and it is incredibly ugly. Be prepared for her brutal honesty.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bushrod Lake on October 21, 2013
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This book shows how the Mexican government doesn't intend to stop the drug traffic, it wants it's cut...it's part of the proceeds.
It gives facts, names names over a 40-50 year period. Reagan & Clinton, too, we're involved.
I recommend reading, and thinking about how the US government wants its cut of the global corporation's profits.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Spritzler on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hernandez names names--hundreds of them; often five or more per sentence. The book is a veritable who's who of drug lords in Mexico and provides detailed accounts of their despicable acts and how they use the top police officials and politicians (including presidents) of Mexico as, essentially, their employees, through a system of extreme corruption and bribery. The book also documents that the Mexican government officials now are the employees of the largest drug "cartel" and use government police powers merely to suppress its competitors, not to stop the illegal drug trade per se. I withheld one star simply because Hernandez might have provided a bit more overall analysis of how the drug trade fits into the larger picture of our world's extreme economic inequality, the role of drugs and related money laundering in mainstream banking, etc.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Serge Mor on October 5, 2013
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I was amazed by this book and all the information and sources provided by Anabel Hernandez to support her claims. I wish Narco Land was released as a pdf edition as well because it would be easier to break every chapter down. For example, Hernandez mentions many politician names and in order to know who they were I had to Google them but with a hard copy it's really hard to keep up with all the information in the book. It's a hard book to read if you're not, at least, somewhat familiar with what's going on in Mexico. So, some names were familiar to me since I've been following this "drug war" since it was announced by former Mexican President Calderon.

I recommend those who have bought the book to read one chapter, take notes, then do some research on the Internet. It would be more easier to understand the material.

sm
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By conjunction on July 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This isn't an easy book to read, although it might be if you're Mexican, or know the country intimately, in which case many of the characters would be known to you.

However it is well written, not badly written as many reviewers here and on Amazon.co.uk have claimed. It is however written in a style which perhaps owes something to the Spanish language or way of speaking, and it takes a little while to get into the swing of it. However if you can't handle that you're never going to get anything from a serious book anyway.

In fact this is a careful, comprehensive and very carefully put together history of the drug business in Mexico, with its connections to many other Central and South American countries, and also of course the good old USA, with a starring, perhaps even leading role for the CIA.

Having said all that I read the first third of this book carefully and then started to skip because I simply don't need this much information. But for anyone who wants or needs to know chapter and verse on the characters involved, and the way it all stacks up it is invaluable.

I have read several books on the drug wars including the remarkable 'Dark Alliance' by Mark Webb and 'Amexica' by Ed Vuillamy. This book however, being written by a Mexican has far more detail in the Mexican experience than they do especially in showing how by the mid 1980s the drug business was being run by the drug cartels in equal partnership and with the total protection and connivance of the Mexican government.

Hernandez also gives chapter and verse of how the cartels received a massive shot in the arm, to say the least, from the CIA, acting illegally, against the instructions of Congress but with encouragement from President Reagan.
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