The world has watched stunned at the bloodshed in Mexico. Thirty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters and drug agents at the problem. But in secret, Washington is confused and divided about what to do. "Who are these mysterious figures tearing Mexico apart?" they wonder.
What is El Narco?
This book draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico's drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the last decade. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains. And it has created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of men-at-arms from Guatemala to the Texas border. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico reporting on the drug wars from the front lines. His piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with first-hand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict.
©2012 Ioan Grillo (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"Grillo’s book is terrific - full of vivid front-line reporting; diverse interviews; a sense of history; a touch of social science; clarifying statistics; and realistic reviews of what might be done to improve things, none of it easy. It is essential reading." (Steve Coll, NewYorker.com)
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"Narration is awful!"
Arghhhh - I was really looking forward to this coming out on audiobook but alas my expectations were crushed by the appalling narration. Why on earth must the narrator put ludicrous pauses at the end of almost ever sentence. It's incredibly annoying and frankly after about 15 minutes of listening to him I had had more than enough. If there was a way to return a download I surely would. Also - the narrator also like to insert strangely unnatural volume accents on the wrong words. If I were the author I would have vetoed this reading before it went out.
"Comprehensive but irritating"
I wouldn't necessarilly avoid a book penned by Grillo, if was on a subject which really interested me, but I may look elsewhere first. I would definitely NOT listen to another audiobook narrated by Thornley.
I was prompted to get some background on the drug business in Mexico after watching Breaking Bad and I've not read any other books about the subject - organised crime and the drug business don't really interest me so I have nothing to compare it to.
Paul Thornley's narration was lightweight. His breathy, urgent delivery became irritating to listen to after about 10 minutes - to endure it throughout an entire audiobook really detracts from the content.
No, it's not really a book with a 'narrative' since it's more a history of the drugs business. I'd watch Breaking Bad instead. There is material for movies in this book (indeed some of the hisitory it relates have been made into some pretty famous movies), but I'm sure there are more in there. There was no mention of Peter McAleese's failed assassination mission on Pablo Escobar, which would make very interesting viewing.
Grillo's research was detailed, but I found his writing style puzzling at times. He continually refers to cannabis as 'hallucinogenic'; as a British writer he uses American and English terms jarringly and inconsistently - cars have 'trunks' and chess is compared to 'checkers' and lieutenants are pronounced 'loo-tenants', but then he sticks in some British references which would be lost on Americans ('nutjobs'?).
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