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El Sicario: Autobiografia de un Asesino A Sueldo (Spanish) Paperback – 2 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Espanol; Reprint edition (2 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0307951448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307951441
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,270,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

The recipient of a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Sidney Hillman Award, Charles Bowden is the critically acclaimed author of Murder City. He lives in Tucson. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 57 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful and educational read. 13 July 2011
By Adam S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I work on the border of Juarez, Mexico. I deal with issues that these guys have created regularly. This is a very good and true, seems to be, account of the life in the most corrupt goverment. Juarez is a battle zone and this guys manages to explain how it got this point. The editing was superb and the narration well thought out. I think that many who have an interest in Mexican/narco politics will find this as a great tool to understand the culture that the narco-terrorists have crafted over many years. Failed drug policies are evident as the reader goes thru the twists and turns of a true sicario. I wish all people would be able to understand and help a nation that is on the verge of collapse.

I see the complaints and the jabs that others have given Bowden, but this guy seems to have a true interest in why Mexico is as corrupt as it is. The Mexican people are truly the victims and Mr. Bowden has once again outlined and told the stories that need to be told. Well done sir. Now I am off to read Down by the River. Forthcoming review of that novel as soon as I can.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Journey Into Mexico's Heart Of Darkness. 27 Oct. 2011
By Robert Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"El Sicario" gives us a voice reaching out from the violent landscape of modern Mexico. This is an unforgettable account of one man's life as an assassin, a predator for the cartels which have turned some of Mexico's border areas into war zones, and in his life we see the development and evolution of today's Mexico roughly from the 1980s to the present. There have been some good books recently published on the current drug war raging in our neighbor across the Rio Grande, including John Gibler's recent "To Die In Mexico" and especially "Murder City" by Charles Bowden, who interviewed the former assassin for a documentary and edited their conversations into this book, this is one of the best because instead of just statistics and figures, it gives us a pure form of journalism in the form of one man's testimony. "El Sicario" is a raw trip into the heart of darkness.

The Sicario divides his life into three basic sections: His childhood, his introduction to the cartel lifestyle as a young adult and finally his eventual exit from the cartel world, choosing to convert to Pentacostal Christianity of the variety so popular among Hispanic communities. There is a strange elegance to the way the Sicario guides us through each section, there is no attempt here to be flashy or "literary" and yet the words in their raw form have real power and pull. Unlike the flashy tales one gets in gangster movies like "Scarface," the Sicario's tale begins with humble roots in the typical, poverty-ridden surroundings of working class Mexicans, he describes his family and a father who worked to death to barely provide essentials. In a powerful moment the Sicario describes his one happy memory of a family outing: To the circus where they couldn't afford luxury snacks. His initiation into the world of drug trafficking and killing is very basic and unmessy: Young people in Mexico with few opportunities and in need of financial gain find an easy route through the drug world, getting paid well to kill, transport drugs and infiltrate the police and city governments. The Sicario becomes a narco hitman not because he had some grand plan, but because he needed money and wanted to have the same things he would see upper class Mexicans buy with such ease. In this story we see in Mexico's narco world an embodiment of a terrifying form of pure capitalism, the kind of capitalism and consumerism which has left many societies in ruins, producing more and more figures like El Sicario. In his preface Charles Bowden wonders if the Sicario is not only a figure out of modern Mexico, but from our future as a whole.

The most intriguing parts of the book deal with the Sicario's descriptions of how the cartels infiltrate the local Mexican police forces, using training academies to inject informants and also provide top level training for their own kill teams. The US invests much money in training Mexico's police and in one chapter the Sicario even describes a trip to an FBI training facility where Mexican recruits are trained by US experts, what these experts might not know is that they are training the future commandos of the major cartels now rampaging across Mexican cities. Key moments in recent Mexican history are also explored including the rise of the Juarez cartel, the recent airplane crash which killed current president Felipe Calderon's presumed successor (the Sicario dismisses the reports of the crash being an accident, believing it to be instead a major cartel hit) and the rivalries which have led to the current bloodshed. The Sicario provides fascinating details on how drugs are transported, officials bought off and political alliances made. There are chilling moments where the actual business and routine of being an assassina are explored in detail. The Sicario describes his former work with a sense of professionalism, even lamenting the recent rise of "imitators," young hoods who riddle cars and kill bystanders when one clean shot could do the job.

"El Sicario" is also a powerful personal story. It provides reflection on the haunting of memories, it dives into the psychology of a man who chose to do terrifying things for a living. It is no surprise that the Sicario's descriptions of the assassin lifestyle are not glamorous, but full of brutality and the need to consume drugs and alcohol to provide the needed mental numbness to do the job. Even if you aren't convinced by modern Evangelicalism, or especially Latin American Pentacostalism, you feel curiously grateful that this man did find a place where some form of peace and inner reflection has been achieved. "El Sicario" is not just about Mexico, but about the brutal tribalism and violence of people in our current societies. What the Sicario did for a cartel politicians easily do on a global scale. El Sicario's story is about the terrifying possibilities of men trapped in brutal worlds. A memorable, important read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
What An Eye Opener! 28 Aug. 2011
By C. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After hearing so much news almost on a weekly basis about the horrors that are currently taking place in various states in Mexico, mainly in Ciudad Juárez, I came across El Sicario after seeing the preview for the documentary "Room 164" and thought it may be insightful to hear it from the "horse's mouth" so to speak. I have to honestly say after reading this book completely from cover to cover it really blew my mind. It is literally to the point the you refuse to believe some of the things El Sicario is revealing, but it is just too detailed, emotional, and so full of feeling that it is difficult to doubt. Not to mention various footnotes verifying many of the stories he tells. El Sicario is a chilling autobiography but the scariest and most uncomfortable thing about it is not even the sinister acts of violence he committed and witnessed, but the unprecedented level of corruption in Ciudad Juárez. I mean corruption is a serious understatement to say the least. This autobiography is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you're brave enough to hear the truth about Mexico definitely consider picking this one up. 5 Stars!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Review for El Sicario 25 Jun. 2011
By Alan Petersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
According to the introduction the bulk of this book is based on the interviews with El Sicario (recorded for the documentary, El Sicario: Room 164) so it does read like a transcript more than an autobiography. There were a few of these hand-drawn sketches that didn't make much sense so not sure if it was filler for the book. They also got a little preachy not just on religion but on the government. I could have done without the editorial of the author (it wasn't content from the Sicario).

The book was Okay. It was interesting to read how this person started out as a pretty normal kid growing up in Mexico to becoming a monster. It's also chilling to read how he glosses over all the killing he has done now that he has found God without paying for his crimes. Not sure how carefully his story was verified but it was an interesting to read and it provides a glimpse how the situation in Mexico has gone from bad to worse over the last few years. The most chilling parts of course are when he describes the torture, murders, and other horrible things he did as a killer for the cartels.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great book 18 Oct. 2011
By jose martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
really enjoyed and learned if you can say that about the situation in mexico
i actually did feel like i was right there with the guy as he was telling his story
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