Read All About It–You Won’t Be Able to Stop
By Ioan Grillo
Bloomsbury Press, $18.00, 327 pages
With marijuana legalized in two states during the last elections, policies and debates around drug use in this country have gotten lots of attention, and scratching a bit deeper leads to a much vaster beast called the drug trade. El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo is a brisk and riveting read explaining the drug trade through Mexico from its roots over a century ago to the headlines it makes today. Particularly fascinating background comes in “Poppies,” which describes the usurpation of the drug trade in the early 20th century from Chinese-Mexicans by Mexican mestizajes and indigenous peasants, and “Faith” about the ideological underpinnings in some cartels. Of course more common topics like drug busts and specific personalities and acts of violence are also part of the story, extremely grim and disturbing notes. Grillo’s depth and breadth of knowledge and sources interwoven in narrative form means that you will hardly be able to put down this book.
Reviewed by Sarah Alibabaie