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This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez Hardcover – March 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“[I]n this clear-eyed and humane book Powell has succeeded in introducing his readers to a truth behind the grim and monotonous headlines.” ―Boston Globe

“Terrific. Fantastic. A hell of a book. In the best tradition of literary journalism, Robert Andrew Powell finds the story we'd missed in our own backyard, using the love of soccer to reveal the humanity that survives in hyper-violent Ciudad Juárez. This is the best sports non-fiction I've read in a long, long time.” ―Grant Wahl, New York Times bestselling author of The Beckham Experiment

“To call This Love Is Not For Cowards a sports book does it an injustice. Powell tackles a subject that actually should matter to Americans: The bloody breakdown of civic life just over the U.S. border -- and the ways it can corrode even the most detached observer's soul. Daring, honest and wielding a pitch-perfect ear, he uses soccer to chart Juarez's ultra-violent anarchy the way the best correspondents chronicle war. He leaps into the devil's playground -- and reports the hell out of it.” ―S.L. Price, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

“The most dangerous game is believing in life. Robert Andrew Powell takes us into the most murderous city in the world, where a soccer team and its fans teach us how to live and why. This book will save your life by giving you life.” ―Charles Bowden, author of Murder City

“Candid . . . Unsentimental and deeply humane.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“[A]n edgy, anecdotal view of a place where ‘Murder is effectively legal'… Powell captures surreal feelings of beauty and desolation, exuberance and danger. Though the Indios fail and fail big, Powell succeeds brilliantly . . . An eye-opening and unforgettable account of a part of the world that, for all its notoriety, is effectively invisible.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Much like the soccer classic The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss, Powell's work explores not only the connection between an athletic team and its fans but also one city and one community's ability to simultaneously face conditions that destroy hope and try to restore faith, and in doing so he has written not only a great sports book but also a powerful treatise on civics and human nature.” ―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Robert Andrew Powell is the author of "We Own This Game" (Grove/Atlantic, 2003), a story of race, politics and football in Miami. The book was excerpted in Sports Illustrated; the magazine later named it one of the Best Books of 2003. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Play, Slate, Mother Jones, Inc., 5280, Sports Illustrated, Runner's World, the Kansas City Star, on public radio's "This American Life with Ira Glass," and in the "Best American Sports Writing" anthology. He also produced a documentary film, "Year of the Bull," which first aired on Showtime. He has won a James Beard Award for his food writing and twice been a finalist for the Livingston Award. He lives in Miami.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition, First Printing edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608197166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608197163
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Andrew Powell is the author of This Love Is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez and We Own This Game, about race and football in Miami, where he lives.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ciudad Juarez, the world's most dangerous and violent city. Robert Andrew Powell chooses not to focus on the violence so much as the soccer despite the team's meteoric rise and fall from Mexico's top division. What comes out is a story that is full of loving, caring people being killed simply because they live in what is quickly established as major drug territory. Juarez is perfectly located, just across the Mexico-U.S. border to incite a major drug turf war. At the heart of the city, other than the violence, is the Indios, a team that almost inexplicably rose from the depths to the Primera where they lasted only a couple of years before falling back to the second division. Indios fans, despite their team's losing record, are die hards. Road trips are days long parties full of booze and drugs. Home games, even more so, especially if the Indios win (which they rarely do, but any reason to celebrate ...)

Powell's book isn't just about soccer and violence. It's about love and hope in a place that maybe should not abound with either. But many of the people Powell befriends talk about how much they love the city and do not want to leave despite the violence, even those who have moved just across the border to El Paso, Texas to avoid death threats or worse. Juarez is a city of extremes, it seems; a place where loyalties are decided and lives are destroyed every day despite everyone just carrying on as if nothing really happened. Powell's own safety is often drawn into question, particularly as violence in the area of Juarez he moved to (from Miami) escalates.

By the end of the book I was equally fascinated and frightened.
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Format: Hardcover
The violence that is raining down on the people of Ciudad Juarez is shocking. The most dangerous city in the world - that is what Juarez is now currently known for. Quoting the book, "The murder rate skyrocketed from three hundred in one year to 1,600 the next to 2,700 the year I got here." "This is a city where you can be killed at any time." Reports of the violence reach US news reports in abstract ways; we read and hear about murders, drug cartels and it is hard to imagine or maybe it easy to not imagine that people are living in this violent and dangerous city. "Like most Americans, I haven't thought about Mexico all that much. It's there, I know right below Texas and a few other states. ... No other country holds more influence over modern American culture. It's time to look at it." This Love is Not For Cowards is a non-fictional account told from the perspective of a writer who moves down to Ciudad Juarez for one year to live, he writes about the people he knows in the city and at the center of the story is Juarez's soccer team.

The struggle for Juarez's soccer team, the Indios, to stay in the primera league (equivalent to the major leagues in US - in Mexico if a team is underperforming - think the Cubs - eventually the league will kick the team out of the primera and send it down to the minor leagues to improve [...]), this struggle to stay in the primera league is a metaphor for the people living in Juarez attempting to survive and hope for the return of the city of their memories. The close contact with the players of the Indios provides Powell a vehicle to talk about individuals living in Juarez and the effect the violence, immigration and other topics have on them. Okay, and before we go any further, I am in no way bashing the Cubs.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ciudad Juárez, located just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is among the most deadly cities in the world. As Mexico has become engulfed in a firestorm of drug-related violence, Juárez rode the first waves of this tsunami of killing, with a murder rate that quickly grew to more than ten per day. Yet in the midst of all this violence, the people of Juárez carry on with their lives. This is perhaps truest when it comes to supporting their beloved soccer team, Los Indios, which enjoyed a brief tenure as a member of Mexico's Primera, the top professional soccer league. In spite of the incredible violence, the Indios fans cheer on their team, even in the face of probable relegation back to the minor leagues.

This book documents the final season of Primera membership for Los Indios, as the team first struggles to avoid relegation, and then to come to terms with its inevitability. We meet the players and the team management, party with the diehard fans and generally learn what it is like to be a fan of soccer in Mexico. But this book is also about the city of Juárez , its people, and how they cope with the realities of living in the midst of the most incredible carnage outside of an actual war zone. It is a testament to the power of hope, the ability of people to continue to live their lives and plan for the future, even in a city where murder has, for all practical purposes, become legal.

Powell immersed himself in the city, becoming a resident, not out of necessity, but by choice. That makes this account personal, so that it packs an incredible emotional punch, even if it sacrifices some level of objectivity along the way. Even so, Powell does a remarkable job of trying to provide a balanced view of life in this violent city.
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