El Narco

Ioan Grillo

El Narco

War' is no exaggeration in discussing the bloodshed that has terrorized Mexico in the past decades. As rival cartels battle for control of a billion-dollar drug trade, the body count- 23,000 dead in five years - and sheer horror beggar the imagination of journalistic witnesses. Cartel gunmen have shot up schools and rehabilitation centers, and murdered the entire families of those who defy them. Reformers and law enforcement officials have been gunned down within hours of taking office. Headless corpses are dumped on streets to intimidate rivals, and severed heads are rolled onto dancefloors as messages to would-be opponents. And the war is creeping northward. El Narco is the story of the ultraviolent criminal organizations that have turned huge areas of Mexico into a combat zone. It is a piercing portrait of a drug trade that turns ordinary men into mass murderers, as well as a diagnosis of what drives the cartels and what gives them such power. Veteran Mexico correspondent Ioan Grillo traces the gangs from their origins as smugglers to their present status as criminal empires. 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
El Narco

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication January 2013
ISBN 978-1408822432
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

War' is no exaggeration in discussing the bloodshed that has terrorized Mexico in the past decades. As rival cartels battle for control of a billion-dollar drug trade, the body count- 23,000 dead in five years - and sheer horror beggar the imagination of journalistic witnesses. Cartel gunmen have shot up schools and rehabilitation centers, and murdered the entire families of those who defy them. Reformers and law enforcement officials have been gunned down within hours of taking office. Headless corpses are dumped on streets to intimidate rivals, and severed heads are rolled onto dancefloors as messages to would-be opponents. And the war is creeping northward. El Narco is the story of the ultraviolent criminal organizations that have turned huge areas of Mexico into a combat zone. It is a piercing portrait of a drug trade that turns ordinary men into mass murderers, as well as a diagnosis of what drives the cartels and what gives them such power. Veteran Mexico correspondent Ioan Grillo traces the gangs from their origins as smugglers to their present status as criminal empires.

Amexica by Ed Vulliamy

Reviews

The Scotsman

Doug Johnstone

Brilliant … Ioan Grillo, an English journalist who has been based in Latin America for the last ten years, does a fantastic job of defining, explaining and analysing the current problems in the country. It is a wonderful piece of quality, in-depth journalism, Grillo’s writing is lucid and perceptive, passionate but balanced, and he really seems to get under the skin of the terrible situation.

11/02/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Christopher Hirst

Brave, terse and absorbing, his despatches tell the story from the gomeros (gummers), who scrape poppy pods in the state of Sinaloa, via the Zetas drug gang, mainly recruited from the military (their name derives from a code word used by special forces), to the "incredible popularity" of drug ballads. You read this book hypnotised, then like Grillo, you "pause and shudder inside".

15/02/2013

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The Independent

Hugh Thomson

Grillo has achieved extraordinary access to gangsters and police (often the same people). He shows how the Mexican drugs business originally began on the west coast in Sinaloa, where conditions for growing opium poppies and marijuana were ideal, as immigrant Chinese labourers discovered in the 19th century. Mexicans expropriated their business, with accompanying ethnic violence, and by the 1960s were feeding their US neighbours' growing demand.

28/02/2012

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