Nancy Oakes's Reviews > God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre

God's Middle Finger by Richard Grant
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's review
May 16, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction

You know that a) this is going be good and b) this is going to be different than anything you've ever read when the opening chapter finds the author being pursued by 2 crazy men with guns in the middle of the night out in the wilds of Durango, Mexico. Naturally, after you read that chapter, with a cliffhanger for an ending, you have to wonder how he got into this predicament and you're hooked. This book just didn't let up. Grant decides that he wants to traverse the Sierra Madre Occidental, a mountain range just south of the border between Arizona & Mexico. The Sierra Madre goes south from there , for about 900 or so miles -- with canyons that are deeper than our Grand Canyon, with mines, caves, cliffs, potholed roads, little towns, drug farms and a variety of people. He begins his trip with a friend telling him not to do it but this doesn't stop Grant. Everywhere he goes he makes a new contact to help him into the areas where gringos should not be travelling alone -- often dangerous, often a bit hostile, filled with testosterone that leaks from the aura of Mexican male machismo. It's the kind of Wild West lawlessness and total anarchy that intrigues him and he finds what he's looking for everywhere he goes. At first the author really got into his journey, but after some bandit encounters, policemen trying to set him up while they share cocaine with him, the negative treatment of women by said macho men, and a brush with death, the author has had enough. But the getting there, for the reader, is a fun and wild ride that I won't soon forget. What a great book! Along with his own travels and travails, he's thrown in historical accounts of the area, biographical info about those who've lived and traveled there, and some interesting facts about the pointless war on drugs fought by the US that we're never going to win because of the huge drug economy stemming from the Sierra Madre. Incredibly interesting -- you won't want to put the book down.

Very highly recommended. I would think that most people would enjoy this book, especially people who like a sort of gonzo-feel to their reading.
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