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Dreamland: The Way Out of Juarez

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
What do you call a place where people are tortured and murdered and buried in the backyard of a nice, middle-class condo? Where police work for the drug cartels? Where the meanings of words such as "border" and "crime" and "justice" are emptying out into the streets and flowing down into the sewers? You call it Juarez or, better yet, Dreamland.

Realizing that merely reporti
Paperback, 165 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by University of Texas Press
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Kelsey McKim
Nov 19, 2013 Kelsey McKim rated it did not like it
I read this book for a class, and it just wasn't my thing. I found the voice extremely hard to connect to until after I listened to a NPR interview with the author (Bowden) and got a sense of his personality and manner of speaking. This book is designed to convey a sense or mood to the reader more so than a narrative or historical account of the drug cartel problems in Juarez, so it was a stylistic choice to use such an... ungrounded (for lack of a better word) voice, but that just didn't connec ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing

The name alone brings to mind images of drug cartels run amok and the vain attempts of the government and Police to stop them.

In his latest book, Charles Bowden steps beyond the headlines by focusing primarily on the single story of a US informant and the death house he helped to oversee in Juarez. Bowden attempts to place this story amongst the larger story of corruption amongst all levels of government in Mexico and to show how the violence surrounding the drug trade in mexico is tied i
Natalie S.
Nov 28, 2012 Natalie S. rated it really liked it
This is not a book about drug cartels. This is a book about Juarez. If you want to know how the Zetas came to rule the border, how government officials from local police to the Mexican president became tangled in a violent industry, how many innocent citizens and politicians have been kidnapped or murdered, you can read the (scarce) news reports of kidnappings and murders and watch documentaries. But Dreamland is not the book you read to collect terrifying facts about the drug war and the people ...more
Steev Hise
Apr 27, 2011 Steev Hise rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, border
Charles Bowden is one of my heroes in the field of telling-it-like-it-is. This book is about the situation on the u.s./mexico border and the drug war, like most of his last 10 or so books. Dreamland focuses mainly on a certain situation that happened in Ciudad Juarez in 2004-2005 known as the House of Death, a situation I was aware of while making my documentary about Juarez, although some of the minute detail was stuff I'd glossed over or blocked from memory.

Still, the basic facts related are
Jun 27, 2010 Ashley rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ashley by: NPR
The writing gets three stars, the illustrations 5. I figure splitting the difference is fair. I enjoyed "Dreamland" but found myself wondering if it would have actually worked a bit better as a full-on graphic novel. The illustrations add so much to the text and bring emotion to Bowden's elegy for Juarez that the text alone lacks.

This is *not* a book about Juarez or drug cartels. This is a long meditation on humanity (and the lack there of) in the idea of nation states, boundaries, and "wars" i
Jun 07, 2016 Jonathan rated it liked it
Extraordinarily disturbing. Unlike anything else I've ever read, closer to a (extreme) graphic novel. It's as bleak as the black and white drawings within, some of which are remarkable in their detail, lending to the narrative.
Dec 08, 2010 Erin rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book more than I did.
The situation on the US's southern border is dire. It's more than a "problem". I felt the author did a great job conveying the vibe of what it's like living in a border state.
I hated the art. Again, I like the idea, but the execution was not to my taste.
This book was more like a poem.
Don't read this if you are looking for concrete information about Juarez/drug cartels/etc.
Do read this book if you are familiar with the facts, but want to get
Galina Kalvatchev
May 24, 2012 Galina Kalvatchev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mexico-drug-war
I loved it. It was disturbing but poetic and dreamy. I couldn't put it down. Charles Bowden impressed me again. I love how skillfully he combines facts with striking, detailed scenes and moments. Similarly to his book Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields, this one was written in such a way that it made me feel as if I were at the places he was describing.
Oct 25, 2012 C.S. rated it really liked it
Bowden poetically explores the situation of the drug cartel and government's relationship both in the U.S. and Mexico, specifically focusing on the "Death House" where an ICE/DEA informant was directly involved in the murders of twelve men with the government fully aware of the incident.
Sep 22, 2011 Marlies rated it really liked it
Alright, so I only partially read this because I couldn't stomach it anymore. It's graphic novel style - so I liked that - and Charles really knows the border, but rough. Would recommend for someone who wants to read something other than news stories about the border hell...
Jemera Rone
Nov 01, 2012 Jemera Rone rated it it was amazing
Absolutely mezmerizing, compelling, horrible, and fantastically illustrated -- some of the very best illustrations I have ever seen in a book. Brings the drug war and the Tex/Mex involvement home as never before.
Nov 09, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Very intense book about a serious subject with exceptional artowrk. If you are at all curious about the Juarez drug wars (or any border town drug, immigration issues), this is a good way to get introduced.
May 22, 2015 Ashley rated it it was ok
I couldn't get through this book. It was trying to be too poetic but it really wasn't. And there wasn't enough plot. The illustrations were great, though!
Jun 23, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
Very abstract book. Seemed a little hard to follow for me, mostly because I wasn't expecting the format that he wrote in. Overall, a very interesting read!
May 17, 2011 Dan rated it liked it
Read entirely on an ORD->SEA flight.

Interesting in many ways, but didn't have alot of insights that I already have from family members who live in mexico.
Mar 10, 2011 Andy rated it it was amazing
Remarkable on several levels. Although a short work it has great power and the drawings are equally compelling. I cannot recommend it more highly
Sarah Bird
Jan 05, 2011 Sarah Bird rated it it was amazing
This is an hallucinogenic fever dream of a book. Kudos to UT Press for publishing it.
Dec 01, 2010 Mbreaden rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations. Great writer. Very horrifying [true] story though.
Oct 26, 2012 Joshua rated it it was amazing

F ing amazing
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CHARLES BOWDEN’s journalism appears regularly in Harper’s GQ, and other national publications. He is the author of several previous books of nonfiction, including Down by the River.

In more than a dozen groundbreaking books and many articles, Charles Bowden has blazed a trail of fire from the deserts of the Southwest to the centers of power where abstract ideas of human nature hold sway — and to t
More about Charles Bowden...

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“Thirty or forty years from now, the American adventures into the bowels of the Middle East will be forgotten details of a bumbling imperialism. But taking place all along the line will profoundly alter the future of the United States.” 3 likes
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