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Gangland: The Rise of the Mexican Drug Cartels from El Paso to Vancouver [Paperback]

Jerry Langton
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2011
A frightening look at Mexico's new power elite—the Mexican drug cartels

The members of Mexico's drug cartels are among the criminal underworld's most ambitious and ruthless entrepreneurs. Supplanting the once dominant Colombian cartels, the Mexican drug cartels are now the major distributor of heroin and cocaine to the U.S. and Canada. Not only have their drugs crossed north of the border, so have the cartels (in 2009, 230 active Mexican drug cartels have been reported in U.S. cities). In Gangland, bestselling author Jerry Langton details their frightening stranglehold on the economy and daily life of Mexico today—and what it portends for the future of Mexico and its neighbours.

Offering a firsthand look from members of law enforcement, politicians, journalists, and people involved in the drug trade in Mexico and Canada, Gangland sheds a harsh light on the multibillion dollar industry that is the drug trade, the territorial wars, and the on-the-street reality for the United States, with the importation of narco-terrorists. With the unstinting realism and keen analysis that have made him an internationally respected journalist, Langton offers the bleak prospects of what a collapsed government in Mexico might lead to—a new Mexican warlord state not unlike Somalia.

  • Details the emergence of the Mexican drug cartels—the transformation of middlemen who ferried drugs from Bolivia and Colombia to the U.S. and Canada into self-styled entrepreneurs
  • Describes how the growth of the cartels led to violent territorial wars—with Felipe Calderon declaring war on the cartels in 2006
  • Offers a frightening look at how much the incursion of the drug cartels has affected American life and business—Wachovia and Bank of America have been found guilty of laundering cartel profits

An unflinching examination of the world's most lucrative—and deadliest—drug cartel, Gangland lets readers explore, with brutal clarity, the newest front on America's latest war.


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From the Back Cover

A STARTLING LOOK AT MEXICO'S NEW POWER ELITE—THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS

Mexico's war against narcotics and the criminal syndicates that traffic in them not only looks bad on the surface, but compared to Colombia in the '80s and '90s, the situation is even more desperate and terrifying. Since mirroring the policies that Nixon and successive US presidents pioneered, and enacting its own War on Drugs, Mexico's rates of rape, torture, murder and assassination have skyrocketed, as has the business of illegal narcotics. Juárez, what used to be a rollicking party town for Americans and Mexicans alike, now has a murder rate that exceeds both Baghdad and Kandahar—combined.

Gangland is a first-hand examination of the rise of the Mexican drug cartels, and traces their origins, evolution, and how they've grown in lock-step with the failed narcotics policies of North America. Warring amongst themselves as much as with the authorities, the cartels have earned their reputation for violence and intimidation with daylight gun battles, corpses hung from overpasses and coolers full of severed heads. Their power has escalated thanks to a police force that's often seen to be corrupt or incompetent, a government barely in control of itself, and military personnel serving within their own borders who must cover their faces to keep their families safe from the long, ultraviolent arm of the cartels. Stuck in the center of this maelstrom are the vast majority of Mexican citizens seeking only peace, prosperity and security, and finding little to none in their homeland.

Two questions dominate Mexico's drug war: Who's in charge, the government or the cartels? And how deeply have the cartels infiltrated the United States and Canada? One thing is clear: the War on Drugs has failed, and soon, so may Mexico.

About the Author

Jerry Langton is a journalist and the author of several books, including the national bestsellers Fallen Angel: The Unlikely Rise of Walter Stadnick in the Canadian Hells Angels and Biker: Inside the Nefarious World of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. Over the past two decades, Langton's work has appeared in The Toronto Star; The Globe & Mail; National Post; Maclean's; The Daily News of New York City; The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.; American Banker and dozens of other publications.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Please ' save yourself some money and avoid this book at all costs. It is misnamed, full of errors, and has no documentation to support some of the claims made by the author. I wish there was a way of giving Zero stars to the review

I am not finished and may find something positive to say before I reach the end, but the greatest predictor of the future is the past and the present and the first 100 pages are simply awful.

I suspected that there would be trouble when the author mispelled (and continued to mispell) the term for the mexican popular music style name the corrido. He refers to narcocorridA and uses this term throughout the book. That's not the only spelling or misidentification of terms found in this book. Mestizo becomes Mezito, knicknames of people become mangled and switched around to unrecognizable forms. The review of Mexican history is simplistic and looks like it might have been cribbed directly from Wikipedia. Doesn't Wiley have editors who do fact checking?

And the title is very strange. There is NO mention of Cartels until page 56 ' a quarter of the way into the book, and then there are another 5 pages before he begins to lay out some of his understanding of the history of the cartels. And he immediately makes two errors of fact ' the most egregious being completely incorrect information about one of the first generation narcotraffickers Pedro Aviles Perez. He goes from bad to worse by page 65 when he attempts to describe the emergence of the Guadalajara Cartel and its leaders.

It seems to me that this author is simply trying to cash in on a hot topic even though he is highly unqualified and misinformed about what is happening in Mexico.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs More Editing, Fact-Checking, Many Grammatical Errors July 23 2013
By Connie Boyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book had some of insightful history about Mexico, but not entirely accurate, factually. Besides my problem with some of the facts in the book, were the numerous grammatical errors throughout the text. There are full sentences that are repeated, misplaced words, incorrect gender usages, same name spelled differently in the SAME SENTENCE, etc.

So when I was reading the book, I was concerned about the author's, editor's and publisher's credibility. As an author and editor, one of your strongest skills should be your ability to write and edit properly. I was disappointed after I found multiple errors throughout the book. One or two minor erros, no big deal. However, when I kept unintentionally spotting one error after another, I began to doubt the credibility of the material in the book itself.

Apart from the sloppy grammar and editing, the book does have some interesting information as there aren't too many books addressing this subject.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mix of yellow journalism and accurate facts. Jan. 23 2012
By George D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book is based on some yellow journalism that exaggerates facts, omits part of the facts or simply put it, invents parts of the story, in order to sell news or articles. It is not entirely based on true facts since the author gathered data from news outlets known for yellow journalism. Personally I think the book has little to no value unless you like reading yellow journalism.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power struggles in Mexico Dec 7 2011
By Indiana Cat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book starts in Mexico's earliest history and tells of the power struggles up to the present day. I enjoyed the book (if you can enjoy gore), however, it was documented history. I was hoping it would be more in-depth with what is currently going on between the cartels and the Mexican government . A map in the book would have been great as I only know where a couple of cities are in Mexico.
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