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Publisher's Summary

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
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Critic Reviews

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Robert on 08-17-12

Great book ruined by bad narration

What did you love best about El Narco?

Interesting, engaging and well-documented history of Mexican narco-trafficking.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I tried hard to overlook the narration, but it was so distracting that I have to say it ruined the experience, and I gave up. The narrator read a journalistic, non-fiction work as if it were a novel, with a breathless, dramatic voice entirely inappropriate to the genre. To make matters worse, he pronounces many of the Mexican place names and words with a Castillian accent (pronouncing "c" as "th"), then, inexplicably, completely mispronounces some of the most important Mexican Spanish words, even by Castillian standards ("Gualalupe" as "gwadaloop"). I hope this book is recorded by a different narrator so I can try it again.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful


By Kathy on 04-12-13

A NOBY Nominee

Is there an award like the Razzie for worst audio performance? Maybe a Nails-On-Blackboard award? A NOBY? If so I would like to nominate Mr. Paul Thornley’s performance in this book.

Although he is a professionally trained actor, I can honestly say I’ve heard more vocal variation and feeling from a prerecorded message than he delivers here.
This book may contain the secrets of the universe but I’ll never know --- it was too painful a listen.

One thing that puzzles me. From the time the narration is complete to the time the book is purchased, how many people listen to it for quality? Three? One? None? None would be my guess for this book because no hearing person could listen to it and say “Yep, this one is good to go”

If I were the author and had spent months researching, writing and re-writing a book that actually made it to publishing and THEN had it swept under the rug by dreadful narration, I’d be more than upset.

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By James on 09-03-12

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.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Don't normally review on 10-30-17

factual but a bit dull

felt like a study rather then an interesting exciting read/listen.

but still had it's moments

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