Through on-the-ground reporting informed by clear, critical analysis, Gibler gives a harrowing account of Mexico's drug war: from the absolute brutality of the cartels (where one victim is murdered simply for putting up a sign asking that bodies no longer be dumped in front of his house) to the complicity of the Mexican government (the laundering of billions in drug money kept the financial system afloat during the global crisis of 2008) and, finally, to the culpability of the US (whose supply of money and guns to back up the rhetoric on the "war on drugs" only further arms and enriches those responsible for the violence). As you follow the ongoing crisis in the news, Gibler's book provides you with a lens through which you can see very clearly how this tragic script plays out.
—Recommended by Andy, City Lights Books
Combining on the ground reporting and in-depth discussions with people on the frontlines of Mexico's drug war, To Die in Mexico tells behind the scenes stories that address the causes and consequences of Mexico's multibillion-dollar drug-trafficking business. Gibler tells the hair raising stories of a Mexican journalist kidnapped, interrogated and threatened with death by the Gulf Cartel before being miraculously released; family members of people killed in the conflict; survivors of assassination attempts and massacres; along with crime-beat photographers, funeral parlor workers, government officials, convicted traffickers, cab drivers and others who find themselves working against, with, or for the drug cartels. Gibler sees beyond the cops-and-robbers myths that pervade government and media portrayals of the unprecedented wave of violence and looks to the people of Mexico for solutions to the crisis now pushing Mexico to the breaking point.
"Many writers have pondered the evil and madness of the Mexican/American "drug war." Few have analyzed it with such vividness and clarity as John Gibler." —Howard Campbell, Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, El Paso
"To Die in Mexico shows all the horror of Mexico's current turmoil over drugs—but goes beyond the usual pornography of violence to its critically-informed broader context. Gibler also reveals the brave civic resistance to death cults and official silencing by, among others, some of the remarkable Mexican journalists trying to tell the drug war's hidden story." —Paul Gootenberg, author, Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug (UNC Press, 2009)
"If you want to cut through the lies, obfuscation and sheer lunacy that surrounds Mexico's so-called drug war, read To Die in Mexico. John Gibler reports from Ciudad Juarez, Reynosa, Culiacan--the bloodiest battlegrounds in a fever of violence that has left more than 38,000 dead. But he accepts none of the prevailing myths--that this is a war between rival criminal enterprises, or between a crusading government and assorted barbarous bad guys, that it is a war at all. An antidote to the sensationalism and mythologizing that dominate the discourse, To Die in Mexico is at once a gripping read and the smartest, sanest book yet written on the subject in English." —Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Suitors and Ether