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True Tales from Another Mexico

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ISBN-13: 978-0826322968
ISBN-10: 0826322964
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True Tales from Another Mexico + Antonio's Gun And Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

What Hernando de Soto did for the economy and politics of Lima, Peru in The Other Path (1989. o.p.), journalist Quinones (the Los Angeles Times) does here for Mexico. While de Soto followed a very systematic path, illustrated with charts, to show the tenacity and enterprising spirit of lime$os, Quinones, an accomplished storyteller, uses a narrative style to grand effect. Sometimes, the narrative takes unbelievable turns, yet the author has met each of his subjects, and, while his text is by necessity anecdotal, his is a refreshing treatment of a country in which everything has been penetrated by the ruling party. He recounts stories of men who dress as women, of the narcotraficantes, and of the chamber of deputies' section called The Bronx, where misbehaving is both common and a specialty. This is an excellent view of the informal economy and various means that are used to get around Mexico's reliclike system of social, economic, and political organization. Highly recommended for academic libraries and for special collections. Rene Perez-Lopez, Jordan-Newby Branch Lib., Norfolk, VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"The most original writer on Mexico and the border out there." --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

The most original writer on Mexico and the border out there. --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826322964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826322968
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Quinones is a journalist, former LA Times reporter, author and storyteller.

His new book of narrative nonfiction - DREAMLAND: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic - was published in 2015 by Bloomsbury Press. It has received rave reviews from Salon.com, Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus Reviews, and a bunch of Amazon.com readers.

DREAMLAND recounts twin tales of drug marketing:

A pharmaceutical corporation flogs its legal new opiate painkiller as nonaddictive; immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza and take that system nationwide riding a wave of pill addiction.

The result is our current scourge of opiate - pain pills and heroin - addiction.

A reporter for almost 30 years, Quinones lived and worked as a freelance writer in Mexico from 1994 to 2004. He spent time with gang members and governors, taco vendors and Los Tigres del Norte. He wrote about soap operas, and he lived briefly in a drug-rehabilitation clinic in Zamora, while hanging out with a street gang. He did the same with a colony of transvestites in Mazatlan, with the merchants in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito, and with the relegated PRI congressmen known as the Bronx. He hung out with the promoters of Tijuana's opera scene and with the makers of plaster statues of Mickey Mouse and Spiderman in that city's Colonia Libertad.

His previous two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration made him, according to the SF Chronicle Book Review, "the most original writer on Mexico and the border."

His first book -- True Tales From Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2001) -- is a collection of nonfiction stories about contemporary Mexico.

His second -- Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration (UNM Press, 2007) -- was called "genuinely original work, what great fiction and nonfiction aspire to be, these are the stories that stop time and remind us how great reading is." (S.F. Chronicle).

In 1998, he received a Alicia Patterson Fellowship, and Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2008, for a career of excellence in reporting about Latin America.

He returned to the United States in 2004 to take a job with the LA Times, where for 10 years he wrote stories about immigrants, street gangs, drug trafficking, and marijuana growers in Northern California.

Contact him at www.samquinones.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By jennifer j. rose on April 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Quinones has an eye for Mexico that's not shared by most gringo writers. And he's got the ability to insinuate himself into situations that none of us have the flair, diplomacy -- or even the cojones -- to penetrate. Like hanging with the Kansas City gang out in Zamora. Or explaining those fancy but unoccupied houses out in the hinterland.
He's got the ability to transcend just world of Mexico -- he even knows that Dickies manufactures for LL Bean.
Frequently when I relate something I've read about Mexico to Mexicans, asking for their verification, I'm laughed out of the room. I queried our in-house panel of experts - Ramiro, my gardener who owns two Paleterias Michoacanas right in the 'hood, and Maria, the woman who works for me and hails from a burg in the Tierra Caliente -- and they agreed with Quinones' assessments.
Now, we all know what rancho and corrido mean. Or so we think. But Quinones takes those concepts just a step farther, explaining the social importance of concepts like these, threading the sense of community throughout each story in this book.
And did you notice that the publisher bound this book just a notch above the usual bindings? It's a library binding, and that says something. This book demands it, because it's one to be read over and over again.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alvie on February 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic. I don't often actually buy non-fiction because I usually don't plan to re-read it. This is a rare exception. Quinones is 1st & foremost a great storyteller. You'd hardly notice that it's all true if it weren't for the fact that these tales are simply too good to be fiction. Quinones has a knack for noticing the seemingly invisible. The best example being the tale of Chalino Sanchez (who graces the cover). How could someone who completely misses the U.S. radar of popular culture become a folk hero and single-handedly create a musical genre selling millions of copies of albums in the process & then having at least 1,500 songs written about him? Quinones manages to make it sound perfectly believable. If you're anything like me you'll be mesmerized by these essays.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland on August 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book will blow your mind. Quinones is able to totally take you into worlds rarely heard about before. Who knew there was a thriving basketball hotbed in Oaxaca that has been transported to LA? The whole genre of narcocorridos (basically, traditional Mexican "country" [ranchero] music with a gangsta slant) started in LA, too.

The topics of lynchings in rural Mexico, the popularity of telenovelas at home and in Eastern Europe(?) and the religious cult at Neuva Jerusalen are all so fascinating and far beyond anything anyone has probably imagined Mexico to be.

He has an inate ability to dig up and find the most fascinating stories in the most out-of-the-way places yet also show how they often are a microcosmic reflection of how Mexican society operates in general.

The question is: When is Sam Quinones going to compile a Tales 2?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lindblom PhD on August 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It is clear from the book there is more than one Mexico. It's not what you think. The border is a focus but hardly all. Gangs are a focus. The book raises a major question. Is Mexico changing and how?Quinones presents many portraits from gangbanger singer Chalino Sanchez to the dead women of Juarez. Each sketch adds a different and fascinating dimension to a complex perception of what Mexico is. No other book presents that plurality as well. The book is a page turner, a fast paced quick read. It is not, however, superficial but in-depth coverage. It is fascinating.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Watujel on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Quinones' reporting gives you the best of both worlds--the clear-eyed objectivity and perspective of an extremely knowledgeable news reporter, with a feature writer's ability to dig into revealing street-level stories. Quinones belongs to the rare breed of reporter who can tell a compelling human-interest story without getting all weepy and sentimental about the people he's profiling. And he can keep a popular perspective while writing about the people pulling the levers of power, never mimicking their bureaucratic jargon or relying too much on dubious statistics. If everyone could combine the best qualities of news and feature reporting the way Quinones does, American journalism would be in much better shape.
The only time I sense him getting too close to a source is in his "Popsicle Kings of Tocumbo" where he misses the obvious parallels between the ice-cream vendors and Amway salesmen. (Maybe Amway would be more successful if it followed the popsicle kings' example and actually sold products people wanted at reasonable prices.) On the whole, however, he does a fantastic job, doing some especially intriguing fact-finding in the "Lynching In Huejutla" chapter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bukhtan on June 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Another reviewer pointed out that Quinones' accounts are "researched", and this is true; he's done what he needed to do to find his facts. But I would add that the overwhelming note, for me, is that the man has "been there". I heard about "True Tales" from a reviewer of Elijah Wald's "Narcocorrido", and would now agree with that reviewer that the Quinones piece on Chalino Sanchez tells us a lot more about his world than Wald's book, valuable but a bit touristy, a bit arch, and a bit academic. There is an immediacy in these chapters by Quinones, of grittiness, suffering, delusion, terror, helplessness, of all the qualities of the many Mexicans Quinones met and listened to. His description of the lynching is the most direct, realistic and frightening I've ever read; this can happen anywhere, anytime. These stories are unadorned realities of Mexico and the Border, and the entire world as well.
As Edward Abbey said, of the same country, "this is the real world, muchachos, and you are in it."
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