Review: El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Gillo (Belinda’s review)

el narcoEl Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency
written by Ioan Grillo
published by Bloomsbury Press

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I loved it!

Like many Americans, I’ve visited Mexico and loved the country. Headlines of drug wars disturbed me, especially when I lived in the deep South. Many of our friends came to the U.S. from Mexico, and we’d previously enjoyed crossing the boarder without concern.  What changed? What made parts of Mexico some of the most dangerous places in our hemisphere?

El Narco does a great job of explaining a very complicated international problem.  Grillo resists the temptation to sensationalize the violence and scare readers unnecessarily. He does, however, make the situation just south of the border easier to comprehend.


Would I recommend it: If you enjoy nonfiction, this is a great book.


About the book – from Goodreads: 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. And it is all because a few Americans are getting high. Or is it? 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?

El Narco 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. This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with firsthand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict




  1. I really need to add more non-fiction to my TBR, this sounds totally intriguing!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings