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Amexica: War Along the Borderline

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  296 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Amexica is the harrowing story of the extraordinary terror unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border—“a country in its own right, which belongs to both the United States and Mexico, yet neither”—as the narco-war escalates to a fever pitch there.

In 2009, after reporting from the border for many years, Ed Vulliamy traveled the frontier from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexi
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published October 7th 2010)
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Picking up Amexica: War Along the Borderline by journalist Ed Vulliamy, I was initially excited, thinking here might be an accessible book by a veteran journalist capable of explaining to the English-speaking public just what is going on in Mexico and why. Naïve, I know. My suspicions were raised as early as the second paragraph when the author mistranslated the extremely common Spanish-language sign-off Atte: as Look out. Atte: is actually an abbreviation of Atentamente, simply meaning Sincerel ...more
An unfortunate title for an amazing tour of the multitudinous factors involved in the current border crisis. Framed historically, developed specifically for understanding the status of the border in 2010.

Introduction - Defining the unique nature of the borderland and the rise of violence associated with narcotrafficking.

1. La Plaza - A survey of the system of narco and the history of the players—both individuals and the various cartels. Growing official recognition of the extent of corruption a
This was my "beach" read for our Thanksgiving vacation to Florida. I was so thoroughly engrossed I barely remember any details from our holiday. This fascinating, angering and heartbreaking report is very well researched and written, and the author/reporter so well versed and caring so much about the subject matter that I began an instant obsession with the region as well as its (our) vexing issues.

Ed Vulliamy is wise to trace the root of the problem beyond America's drug addiction and subseque
Ten pokaźny reportaż zdobył Nagrodę im. Ryszarda Kapuścińskiego. Absolutnie zasłużenie. Vulliamy pokazał życie na granicy meksykańsko-amerykańskiej i trudno rzec, czy dobrze, że to zrobił. Łatwo tutaj utracić wiarę w państwo, instytucje władzy, policję etc. Obraz wojen narkotykowych, które pustoszą Meksyk budzi nie mniejsze przerażenie niż realistyczne reportaże z afgańskich pól bitewnych. Kartele uzbrojone w broń automatyczną i granatniki, meksykańskie jednostki specjalne przechodzące na stronę ...more
Fantastic read and a really important book - everybody should read it and be aware of the atrocities happening everyday in Mexico.

Love the very poignant closing line by Munoz the Tijuana pathologist: "I live like a man who sits eating a delicious taco on the street there, aware that every moment could be his last. One bullet, and he is dead."
So far my main goal is to try to get over how many spelling mistakes there are in the Spanish and focus on what Vulliamy is saying. It is difficult given I am still only at the prologue and I've tallied 14 mistakes so far which is frankly embarrassing for Vintage. Hopefully it won't get worse (though clearly it will) and I will be able to get through Amexica without hurtling it across the room unfinished. Here's to hoping... ages later I've finished. My verdict is that this book is little
Fantastic book (mostly) about the drug war raging on the U.S.-México border. All aspects are covered, including the army's and policy fight against and (often) complicit involvement with the narcos, the war's effect on immigration, the recent involvement of Native border tribes in the issue, the complicity of the maquiladoras in providing the grounds for recruitment, the complicity of the U.S. in regards to easy availability of weapons, the lack of interest in "following the money", etc. The boo ...more
A literally shocking non-fiction account of the drugs war raging on the Mexican American border, and the breakdown of society that this is in turn promoting. The book starts in a fairly dry way, but soon becomes a gripping dialogue for the dead as the atrocities and breakdown of society are catalogued through accounts from not only the people trying to address the problems, but also from the bereaved, the addicted, the detritus of this burnt out society that still functions despite itself. Soon ...more
A well-informed piece of travelogue/reportage of the literally torturous history of the US – Mexico border in the era of the War on Drugs. It captures well the way in which the simple stories of opposition between nefarious drug lords and virtuous Mexican government is blatant misrepresentation. On the contrary, there has long been a series of not very cozy condominia between various drug cartels and both local and national factions of the Mexican government. The most important aspect of the boo ...more
I couldn't get into this one at all. There were some interesting tidbits of information, but the book never really gets down to brass tacks. I wanted to educate myself on the Mexican drug war, but with this book I suppose I should have been expecting more of a travelogue than a lesson. It did have some chilling and informative stuff, but Vulliamy's writing put me to sleep more than once. I never felt the presence of any of the people he was meeting or the places he was describing. All in all, I ...more
Essential background reading for those who want to understand the US-Mexico border, for example to read Bolano's 2666 or much of Cormac McCarthy. Inevitably repetitive about the scale of the killings, the dominance of the different drugs cartels, and the omnipresence of migration from south to north. Vulliamy's wider point, which is that what happens on this border is a foretaste of things to come on a much bigger scale, is well made, and all the more frightening for that. McCarthy's The Road: h ...more
an absolutely amazing book. the NYT review complaint it didn't offer solutions, but what it did was show the full extend of the US/Mexico border problems, how they are intertwined and how complex the issues are ... ranging from the basic narco-war issues and illegal immigration (the headline stories) to all the smaller stories that don't get reported to the cultural foundations of the region.
It's shocking. I find it fascinating, our border with Mexico, parially because this area is so close-by. Ultimately though, I just need to stop reading books about our murderous border region, U.S. factories in Mexico paying low wages to desperate poor people whose lives seem very difficult, and books about drug cartels. It is too sad. But like a train wreck, I can't look away.
While the name of the book is somewhat deplorable, even so, this book has some of the best investigative journalism about the cartels and migration published in the English language and contains many passages that are striking in their discoveries. Beyond that the book serves as a summarization and analysis of works by many other border authors such as Bowden and Urrea.
eye-opening about border life, drug war, political ties from both countries, consumer's moral responsibility when buying any product that may be made by a company that manufactures overseas.

fascinating how bank crisis and money laundering linked to drug lords and how banking system and wall street are covering that up.
Well researched and excellent account of the situation along the border. I have read quite a few books on this region which were written from a feminist perspective and was intrigued by Vulliamy's analysis in relation to the rise of neo-liberlaism and the impact of market forces on the region.
Highly recommended.
A good primer on cartel violence circa 2010 and the unique nature of the border region. As a british author, he sometimes speaks in great generalities about a landscape and culture that's pretty familiar to most Americans on a basic level, and it's in these places that the book bogs down a little bit.
Disappointing. This author is very stiff. Seeing as he is talking about a lawless environment, I expected it to be a lot more wild. I feel like he was trying to scare you with stories of these people, but I just ended up being bored.
I'm drudgingly pushing through this. I love the reality and documentation of events that Vulliamy brings to the issue, but it lacks emotion to some degree. I'm having a hard time getting through it with comfort.
Leah Penn
Those who doubt conspiracies where economic control, migrant suppression, imperialist thuggery, crude religious interpretations...and there's more, simply read this book. Breathtakingly bloody good.
Read it while on vacation in Mexico. This is a very interesting read. There are some pretty disturbing passages in this book. It's a well constructed essay on the problems of the US-Mexico border.
Mark Dawson
A sobering and beautifully written account of life on the border between Mexico and America - one of the worst places on the planet right now. Recommended.
A rich source of facts but arduous to get through at times. A good start if you are just getting acquainted with the killings in Ciudad Juarez.
My newest odd fascination is with the war on the Mexican-American border. A great book. I need to read something more cheerful next...
E Goldberg
What a waste of paper. Hard to believe this was written by a professional writer? One long disorganized, incoherent rant.
Jeśli uważasz, że narkotyki powinny być ciągle nielegalne to przeczytaj tę książkę i się oświeć <3
Reading this book gives living in a border state a new perspective. Excellent read!
A great book! Great reporter job!
Oct 24, 2011 Ellen added it
Shelves: want-to-read
Relevant to 2666.
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“Gloria Anzaldúa, who revolutionised the Chicana writing of her generation, called the border ‘una herida abierta – an open wound – where the Third World grates against the First and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it haemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two countries merging to form a third country – a border culture.” 1 likes
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