As I continue my reading on Northern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley I find myself continually surprised. Just when I thought that journalists in Mexico and the U.S. were either living in silence (self-imposed or because of the danger of publication) or naivety, I find a journalist who has poured his life into Mexico and has shared his experiences, thoughts, and insights into the social and economic disaster facing Mexico. Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through A Country’s Descent Into Darkness by Alfredo Corchado, is a bold account, that once again, like other books I’ve reviewed, is not for the timid or one for those who take every word of our politicians and media commentary on Mexico as truth. There is so much we don’t know, so much perhaps we don’t want to know, but I believe that one day or another, one way or another, we will have to face the truth of how, at least up to this point, we have lost the war on drugs. And most unsettling to me, he touched on how the cartels, the violence, and all the other attending crimes and criminals of that dark world, are spilling over into the United States. As he says, at times when he traveled, it was hard to tell “where Mexico ended and the America began” (247).
Corchado was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, The El Paso Herald-Post, and the Wall Street Journal from 1986-2012. This book is based on his personal experience and reporting. Corchado’s writing style is superb–not as overwhelming to me as Bowden’s books were (Murder City), but he uses very strong and clear language, the language of a reporter who not only sees and records, but feels. As I read, I felt his confusion, his fear, saw clearly his struggles and the danger he was in, the influence of family and friends in his life, and I was amazed that he held on so long as an uncompromising reporter and came out alive. He succinctly delineates the history of the drug cartels, the major players, the efforts and failures of our own government in the struggle to curtail the flow of drugs into America. This book is, as the cover insert says, “the story of one man’s quest to report the truth of his country.”
I think the book is relevant and a good read. In some ways, it was also horrifying. There are some good excerpts here:
You can order the book here:
Corchado, Alfredo. Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through A Country’s Descent Into Darkness. New York: Penguin, 2013