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Margaret S. Verble
5.0 out of 5 starsTwin Souled
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2020
I started Midnight in Mexico expecting a traditional true crime book, as it has been named by Time Magazine as one of the best 16 books of that genre. I really like that genre, but this book is so much more, even though there is plenty of crime in it. Corchado has written a deeply-felt memoir that explains the complexities of Mexico's culture and political woes, and also captures the double identity that many people who have inherited more than one culture -- and love them both --feel. Well worth the read.
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating story from a bicultural perspective.
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2020
I’ve read a full shelf of books on Mexico’s history, politics and history of corruption. This book is told in a deeply personal way. The story is written from a Mexican-American journalist’s perspective. His affection for his roots bleeds from each page- as does his disdain for those who corrupt so much of what is beautiful about México. Part political thriller and part family adventure this book is perfect for history buffs, lovers of Mexico, Latinos who are seeking their identity in the US and anybody who enjoys a well-written drama.
5.0 out of 5 starsOne man's love story for his country
Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2016
With Midnight in Mexico, Alfredo Corchado has composed a compelling narrative that is part memoir, part history, part sociology, and part psychology. An accomplished newspaper reporter, the foreign correspondent in Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, Corchado uses his own life—and a death threat upon it—as the framework to tell us about the drug cartel wars in Mexico. His tale reads like a novel, probably because it is all too true, and we who haven’t experienced this sort of thing have a hard time believing that such things take place in the world—and certainly not in a country right at our back door. The corruption, murder, and torture that Corchado reports is very real, and we feel his fear while trying to unravel the mystery of who is trying to kill him. But we also feel his anguish. A Mexican native who grew up in the US, Corchado is drawn back to his homeland, and despite the evils there, the threats there, he finds it hard to leave. This is a man who dearly loves Mexico. So this book is not only a true crime thriller but is also a love story, a tale of a man in love with a country. A man who doesn’t quite understand its attraction, but he loves it, nevertheless. Midnight in Mexico is not a dry, sociological analysis of Mexico’s problems; it is a heartfelt look at a country that has heart and should be great, but isn’t.
I don’t normally review books on kindle because they make it so complicated but I had to write something on this book. First off the author can write but it’s just a streaming of disjointed events in Mexico I was never sure what his purpose in writing this book was? I can hear from writings that he wants Mexico to be something it’s not etc... but it’s just boring Mexico stuff that we’ve read in countless other books. If you haven’t read or have no knowledge of the workings of Mexico and it’s polical problems over the last 50 years it might be interesting but if your looking for a little bit more exciting reading go somewhere else, at the core it’s a boring reporting of The political climate of Mexico
3.0 out of 5 starshIs work is more about is love for Mexico and an explanation of why it has ...
Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2016
An interesting read which takes you down the path of Mexico's fall into the dark rule of the Cartels. Insightful and well written, the author insures that the reader understands the dynamics and the intertwining interests of the drug cartels, the government, the authorities and the population. However, it doesn't delve into the author's mishap which is him being targeted by a Cartel for his involvement in writing articles about the drug business in Mexico. That's one reason I purchased the book, to read about his quandary and how he resolved it to end up writing this book. Be warned, hIs work is more about is love for Mexico and an explanation of why it has descended into this deep quagmire of violence and corruption which exists there today.
5.0 out of 5 stars"Midnight in Mexico" should serve as a wake-up call
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2013
Alfredo Corchado's story is one of immigrant success--coming from Mexico to the U.S. as a child of parents working the fields, going to college, reporting for top newspapers, serving as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. Currently the Dallas Morning News' Mexico bureau chief, he has reported on, and witnessed firsthand, much of Mexico's important political history during the last twenty years. Highly bilingual and bicultural, Corchado clearly explains for American audiences the political reality of Mexico today.
FYI: only on the writer's website did I see the book billed as "a new Penguin memoir." There is definitely a lot of Corchado's own story which I didn't expect at the beginning. By the end, I was blown away by how well he explained the drug cartels' growth, the lack of strong political institutions to combat them and the tremendous impact on the quality of life for everyone.
I've spent the last 40 years on both sides of the border. Much of what he describes is well-known to people living in Mexico or to those abroad who follow the country's news. Unfortunately, his reports are not exaggerated. Most Mexicans don't live with as much constant tension as Corchado, but most people aren't reporters taking on high-level narcos.
He does a fine job of weaving in the necessary history lessons. It's difficult to understand the current reality if you don't know something about the Revolution, the PRI's dominance for 7 decades and what, at the time, seemed to be a great triumph of democracy when Fox and the PAN won the presidency in 2000. Corchado lays out clearly the power vacuum that was created and how the cartels jumped in to take advantage.
"Midnight in Mexico" should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who think that 1) Mexico just needs to get serious about fighting the drug war and 2) that "those things" could never happen in the United States.
I bought the book to compliment some research I was doing for a story. I have no doubt that Alfredo is a great journalist, but I wonder if he simply ran out of story to fill the pages of a book? I understand that this isn't fiction. I wasn't seeking a story. I was hoping to find in depth information regarding the cartels over the past 10+ years from a credible source, and receiving that kind of information from a reporter who's life was on the line a number of times was incredibly intriguing to me. Perhaps my expectations were high, but I'd give the book a 60% score of satisfying my expectations. I'm giving the book an overall 2/5 star rating because: the reader must constantly wade through paragraphs of what Alfredo had for breakfast, what he had for lunch, how his mother used to prepare certain foods, what was playing on the radio, etc. It would be interesting to see if there was more about Alfredo's menu versus information relating to the Cartels. Frequently throughout every chapter we get a sentence or two of Spanish, only to be translated into English. I don't see the purpose of having...
Pablo said, "El queso es vieja y mohosa". The cheese is old and moldy.
...throughout the book. For me, it doesn't add anything. It slows down the read and breaks what little 'captivating spell' there was to begin with. Between the numerous Spanish translations of what his buddy said, and what Alfredo had to eat and how it tasted... I started to wonder if Alfredo had enough material for a 268pg book? Maybe that's harsh, but it's not something I'd quantify as a writer's style, or adding color to the scenario.
I think I would've enjoyed Alfredo's knowledge of the subject if he had written an in-depth article instead.
4.0 out of 5 starsCongratulations, Alfredo Corchado.
Reviewed in Canada on March 26, 2016
Midnight in Mexico is a very frightening book and it must have taken a huge amount of courage to write it. Everyone who loves Mexico needs to read it. Things will only change through understanding the truth and, slowly, the battle is being won.
2.0 out of 5 starsThis is a long newspaper article
Reviewed in Germany on January 21, 2020
Reding the blurb I expected a thrilling and fast moving story about drug cartels and a race to save a life. However, this book is a newspaper like report on the political, economic and social developement of mexico. Due to the misleading blurb only two stars.