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The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo, The World's Most Wanted Drug Lord [Hardcover]

Malcolm Beith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Sep 2010

Mexico, April 2009. The bodies of a pair of undercover military intelligence agents, disguised as campesinos (farmers), are dumped by the side of the road. Beside the corpses is a message on a scrap of paper: 'You'll never get El Chapo.'

Such is the fate of many who have dared to try to catch El Chapo, or oppose him. El Chapo is the world's most wanted drug lord, at large since he escaped from prison in 2001 after bribing guards to wheel him out in a laundry cart. His cartel moves thousands of tons of cocaine, marijuana and heroine into the US each year using tunnels, planes and submarines. He has made an estimated $20 billion, and appeared on Forbes magazine's Global Power List in 2009. He bribes or kills politicians, police, soldiers and those who betray him. He's hailed by locals as a folk hero. But the net is closing. Who will make the final move? There is no bigger crime story today, worldwide, than the Mexican drug war and the hunt for El Chapo. The Last Narco traces his life and the struggle to bring him to justice, through reportage and interviews with rival narcos, police and DEA sources. This is a non-fiction thriller to match Mark Bowden's Killing Pablo and Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah. It also tells a wider story: the brutal war between the cartels, the endemic state corruption and the US complicity in a conflict that is killing more people than Iraq.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st edition (7 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802119522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802119520
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,883,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


It's Pablo Escobar all over again (Ralph Reyes DEA Chief of Enforcement Operations )

A brave and terrific headlong trek into the dangerous terrain of drug trafficking (Sam Quinones Los Angeles Times )

Malcolm Beith risked life and limb to tell the inside story of El Chapo, the notorious drug capo. A novelist could not have presented a more intriguing or compelling tale of corruption, intimidation, murder, blood feuds, life-and-death negotiations, and the entrepreneurial skill of a near-mythic figure. Superb (Professor George W. Grayson )

Gracefully captures the heroic struggle of those who dare to stand up to the cartels, and the ways those cartels have tragically corrupted every aspect of Mexican law enforcement (Laura Bickford Producer, 'Traffic' ) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Malcolm Beith is a writer based in Mexico City, covering the drug war for Newsweek. Between 2007 and 2009, he was the Mexico editor of The News, Mexico's national English-language daily. Prior to moving to Mexico in 2007 he was an editor at Newsweek International, based in New York, and reported regularly from conflict zones in Iraq, Haiti and Colombia. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, timely and scary 15 Sep 2010
I would put this up there with Misha Glenny's brilliant "McMafia" and John Pearson's "Profession of violence" as one of the best true crime books yet produced. It is most definitely NOT one of those blokey "all good boys really" books that quite frankly glorify violence, and are much beloved of "Essex boys" and the rest of the FHM set. No, this is a book that investigates gang culture in Mexico on the macro and micro economic scale. It describes the various loyalties that are demanded and yet so readily put aside if the price is right. Yes there is violence, explicitly described on occasion, but it is in keeping with the times and environment. It is mindless on occasion but justified in the gangmembers mind by pride and misplaced dreams of getting rich. It is also driven by fear as extortion appears to be the main economic driver in many areas of Mexico today. It is all eerily fascinating and quite frankly gripping.

With some of the gang kingpins recently being arrested with much media fanfare it remains to be seen whether or not by cutting the heads of these particular snakes they will eventually die. After reading this book I wouldn't bet on it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the last narco 10 Dec 2013
By Jade
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
ny son ordered this book and it he really enjoyed it he likes to read about true life happenings as it gives him a good general knowledge
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm 31 Aug 2011
By KevBhav
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this quite hard to review. It has some excellent information in there and there are some good stories, but it just seemed to be a bit too much of the 'same old scene' all the way through. Can't say I didn't enjoy the read, but can't rate it higher than a 3. If true crime is your thing, and you've read lots of books like this, then you'll learn very little. However, if you want to understand something about the Mexican drug world, then there are certainly worse books than this to start with.
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