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Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields Paperback – 22 Mar 2011
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"(A)n impressionistic yet immensely powerful narrative of brutality, corruption and hopelessness."
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The gist of the book is the police were taking backhanders from the drug lords,then they were ousted by the army and all with the backing of the government.
I might have made an intelligent guess at that before picking up the book.
I read on hoping it would improve but I was disappointed.
I think AManuboy has hit the nail on the head in his review. This book could have been redeemed -partially at least - by many more interviews.
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Murder City is a book that is brutally honest. Most of the chapters are laid out in a fashion like your reading someone’s thoughts, or a journal entry of the day, and news that has happened. The book really has no structure which makes it all the more unique and interesting, but most of all brutal because of it’s lack of sanity, because what is written, and talked about, and explored is true insanity, yet that insanity is all reality. A perfection in reporting. Very intense. Dark. Twisted, and yet it flows like an average report of a day in the life of a victim, or at least those left behind to experience the victim.
“I’ve never done any kind of drug deal in my life. But I’ve loaned out scales to friends who felt differently. So drop the notions you carry about who is clean and not clean. Who is honest or dishonest will get you closer to reality.” Page 80
Bowden does a great job telling a story of corruption but his writing style leaves the reader wondering what is fiction and what isn't. Is this a piece of nonfiction or a literary description of Juarez. Bowden tries to do both and doesn't quite pull it off. His book makes me want to read more on the subject but not by him.
So what Bowden gives you is a series of disjointed, gruesome horrors.Your narrative will not work .First get the picture. So your are given murder after murder, rape after rape.At first it is grimly fascinating .Gradually it gets boring and numbing.I suspect that is what Bowden goes through in researching and writing about this.I give him a lot of credit for his potentially alienating relentlessness.It's called for.Yes , the book drags at times but it succeeds in what it's is. This is an "artsy" book in stylistic terms but it is most assuredly not art for arts sake.It is a book that is a scream.Bowden doesn't strike me as an especially genial fellow.(although he does laugh a fair amount in radio interviews but those are the kind of laughs death might deliver in THE SEVENTH SEAL).He wants you to stop kidding yourself about certain aspects of contemporary reality and he is persuasive to a considerable degree.Even if you disagree with him on any number of things , which I do , I can't imagine after reading this book you could walk away and say, why let's poor a few billion more into the Mexican police and military. That will really straighten things out!
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