Ciudad Juárez lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. A once-thriving border town, it now resembles a failed state. Infamously known as the place where women disappear, its murder rate exceeds that of Baghdad or Mogadishu.
In Murder City, Charles Bowden has written an extraordinary account of what happens when a city disintegrates. Interweaving stories of its inhabitants--a raped beauty queen, a repentant hit man, a journalist fleeing for his life--with a broader meditation on the town's descent into anarchy, Bowden reveals how Juárez's culture of violence will not only worsen but inevitably spread north.
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Charles Bowden, the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and the Sidney Hillman Award, is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books, including Down by the River and Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing. He is a contributing editor for GQ and Mother Jones, and also writes for Harpers, the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and Aperture. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.From Booklist:
Just across the Rio Grande from El Paso sits Juárez, Mexico, a city so overtaken with the violence of drug trafficking that its leading citizens—police, politicians, even the drug lords—find it safer to live in El Paso. Bowden, critically acclaimed author of Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing (2009), details the forces that have led to Mexico’s place in the multinational drug business. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow into Juárez each week, and the violence and corruption that follow yield 200 to 300 murders each year. Bowden laments the silence on both sides of the border that permits the slaughter that goes mostly unnoted and unreported. Behind the numbers, he details the lives lost or destroyed: a reporter fleeing for his life with his young son, a beautiful woman gang-raped, a killer for the cartels who is now being hunted. He chronicles a town that has been the site of numerous mass graves of victims and of monuments to fallen police that bear hit lists from the cartels. A stark, haunting look at the impact of drug trafficking on a town and its people. --Vanessa Bush
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