- File Size: 2840 KB
- Print Length: 336 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
- Publication Date: November 1, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005TIM8BW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$14.99|
|Print List Price:||$18.00|
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El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency Kindle Edition
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|Length: 336 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Ioan Grillo's El Narco is a frighteningly up-close look at the drug conflict in Mexico that reminds us that reality sometimes is more outlandish than fiction.
Grillo has spent a decade working as a journalist in Mexico and following the Sinaloa, Gulf and Zeta cartels as well as government officials struggling unsuccessfully to rein them in. That experience shows up in this book, which he wrote in a colorful narrative that gives you the feeling you're out there reporting with him.
Grillo takes you through a detailed and well documented history of drug trade in Mexico, from opium dens run by Chinese immigrants in the 19th century and up to the cartel turf wars and government crackdown that all together have led to tens of thousands of violent deaths. Through anecdotes and interviews with police, thugs and presidents Grillo provides a blow-by-blow explanation of what led to the explosion of decapitations, massacres and gun battles that in recent years have made Juarez -- a stone's throw from Texas -- the most dangerous city in the world.
Grillo is rightly critical of the often bumbling and contradictory Mexican and U.S. government policies that have failed to stop the drug cartels. He has seen more of the conflict perhaps than any other reporter and probably more than most DEA agents, who would do well to interview him when they get the chance - or at least read his book.
The reader learns that the "Mexican drug trade" for the US started with the smuggling of opium across the border to fuel the needs of Chinese workers in the 19th century. In the 1960s, the rise in marijuana consumption led to importation of this drug. The sucessful Federal (US) efforts to shut down Florida as a route for Cocaine smuggling in the 1980s led to use of Mexico, with its large border, as the alternative pathway.
The book also explains how and why the violence has escalated so dramatically in the last few years, stemming in part from the end of one party political rule, and perhaps more importantly, the morphing of police/soldiers in Mexico from passive players (taking bribes) to active players, culminating in the rise of the Zetas, an almost unbelievably brutal drug organization.
Like any good reporter, the author provides telling details. A graphic example involves the take down of a major drug kingpin in an operation which resulted in fatalities amongst the soldiers/police who did the job. Gunmen from the kingpin's organization infiltrated the funeral of one of the soldiers, and murdered several family members. That is the way the game is played South of the Border.
My one (minor) criticism concerns the final chapter, in which the author provides suggested approaches which might help stem the violent tide. These ideas ( e.g.Read more ›
The Good Points:
* A very detailed look at the Mexican drug cartels, with sufficient detail to make it seem believable and well researched.
* Unusual for the "true crime" genre, Grillo looks at Mexican society and how it has both affected and been affected by the drug trade. Close-knit families, geography, and even religion all have had an affect on how the cartels grow and prosper. Very nice to see these topics included.
* With its discounted price, the book is a great deal. I am a big fan of discounted titles as a way to read books on topics that normally wouldn't catch my interest. For the price, an excellent valuc.
The Not-So-Good Points
* The book is more like a collection of essays than a history book. I didn't find any underlying thesis to the work, just a series of chapters on different topics. Given Grillo's background, the comparison to a series of (detailed) magazine articles seems obvious. (Think Atlantic Monthly).
* Grill can't seem to decide if he is writing a history text of a series of editorials. His opinions come through very strongly, and he is prone to inserting snarky and rather informal personal commentary in the work. It takes away from the quality of the book, and quite honestly breaks my concentration.
* I found his writing style to be somewhat stiff and unyielding. Not the long, complicated prose of a scholarly history text, but not the easy-read language of a mass-market volume.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an extremely informative look into the drug system from start to finish and is basically the real story of Don Winslows novel 'The Cartel'. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Kathy Radina
Violence in Mexico as a result of the drug trade has boomed in the past ten years. Estimates are of 160,000 dead in the past ten years, with a million displaced. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thomas Burke
Interesting read on the actual history on how the drug trade evolved. Explains a lot about how and why the cartel is so strong today.Published 1 month ago by Cathy L. Ehrhart
Violence in Mexico as a result of the drug trade has boomed in the past ten years. Estimates are of 160,000 dead in the past ten years, with a million displaced. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. Burke
Great book. Very informative and the author was very thorough. A bit too long but if you want to know how we got to where we are at I highly recommend it.Published 2 months ago by Colin J Sullivan
This is a really well written and interesting book. Contrary to some reviews, I do not find that the text is disorganized- it seems to retain its cohesion throughout the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David Helcel
Well researched and well written description of an evil industry so close to our country. Unbelievable that such violence is still around in this modern world. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cindy Kay
Well-written and entertaining for the first 80% or so, the degenerates into a lecture from the author on what should or should not be done to combat the Mexican drug war.Published 2 months ago by Christopher Harris
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