Midnight in Mexico

Midnight in Mexico

A Reporter's Journey Through A Country's Descent Into the Darkness

Book - 2013
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Penguin Putnam
In the last six years, more than eighty thousand people have been killed in the Mexican drug war, and drug trafficking there is a multibillion-dollar business. In a country where the powerful are rarely scrutinized, noted Mexican American journalist Alfredo Corchado refuses to shrink from reporting on government corruption, murders in Juarez, or the ruthless drug cartels of Mexico. A paramilitary group spun off from the Gulf cartel, the Zetas, controls key drug routes in the north of the country. In 2007, Corchado received a tip that he could be their next target—and he had twenty four hours to find out if the threat was true.

Rather than leave his country, Corchado went out into the Mexican countryside to trace investigate the threat. As he frantically contacted his sources, Corchado suspected the threat was his punishment for returning to Mexico against his mother’s wishes. His parents had fled north after the death of their young daughter, and raised their children in California where they labored as migrant workers. Corchado returned to Mexico as a journalist in 1994, convinced that Mexico would one day foster political accountability and leave behind the pervasive corruption that has plagued its people for decades.

But in this land of extremes, the gap of inequality—and injustice—remains wide. Even after the 2000 election that put Mexico’s opposition party in power for the first time, the opportunities of democracy did not materialize. The powerful PRI had worked with the cartels, taking a piece of their profit in exchange for a more peaceful, and more controlled, drug trade. But the party’s long-awaited defeat created a vacuum of power in Mexico City, and in the cartel-controlled states that border the United States. The cartels went to war with one another in the mid-2000s, during the war to regain control of the country instituted by President Felipe Calderón, and only the violence flourished. The work Corchado lives for could have killed him, but he wasn't ready to leave Mexico—not then, maybe never. Midnight in Mexico is the story of one man’s quest to report the truth of his country—as he raced to save his own life.


Baker & Taylor
A Dallas Morning News Mexican Bureau Chief who was the first reporter granted an interview with Mexico's first democratic president traces his 2007, 24-hour effort to end a threat against his own life by a paramilitary group that sought to prevent his investigations into Mexico's drug trafficking and government corruption.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781101617830
Branch Call Number: 364.1 COR 2013
Characteristics: xv, 284 p. ; 25 cm


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Jul 04, 2016

Mexico - a violence, murder and drug cartels intermingling with all levels of corrupt authority. The author relates his experiences with glimpses into the past - a history that is the foundation of the present-day conditions that rule this country.

Jun 27, 2016

I found this book to be all over the place. Instead of presenting his story in a chronological fashion, he goes back and forth from current events to the past, which makes it very hard to follow. But it was interesting to read about a truly corrupt country where people don't think twice about killing journalists, women and children in order to build a narco-empire. And to think, Trump was called "raycisss" when he dared to accuse Mexico of sending the types of people that are mentioned cover to cover in this book. The horror!!

Jan 13, 2016

A rather overblown and personal account of a reporter`s life covering the cartels in Mexico. Still, if even half of what the author says is true, it makes an interesting read for those interested.

Feb 25, 2014

Corchado, Alfredo. Midnight in Mexico (New York: Penguin Books, 2013). Waiting to catch a plane in Mazatlán recently I spied this book for sale as "Medianoche en México" (Mexico City: Debate 2013) and purchased it without knowing it was a translation. After reading it I found it to be a good quality conversion into Spanish by Juan Elias Tovar Cross. Corchado’s memoir as a reporter assigned by the Dallas Morning News to report on contemporary Mexico covers, roughly, the years in which drug trafficking became a truly notorious development in Mexico, from 1994 to 2012, when he returned to the U.S. I happened to write this review just a few hours after Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, the world’s most wanted criminal and alleged capo of the Sinaloa Cartel, was locked behind bars in what is supposed to be Mexico’s maximum security prison known as “Almoloya de Juarez” located outside of Mexico City. His detention made worldwide news today, proof that people around the globe became aware of the hideousness of drug trafficking south of our border. Some serious repercussions are predicted by many as a result of El Chapo’s imprisonment who, of course, is discussed in "Midnight." There’s no doubt that there is tough work ahead in making this dreaded affliction disappear from Mexican society. Happily, the interested reader can access more than a handful of what look like good book reviews of Corchado’s "Midnight" in Mexico online and so I’ll limit my own reseña to include a couple of abiding impressions I gained. First, I recommend "Midnight" because the author guides the reader to appreciate the verve & drive of a young professional committed to showing the world that he can do the job and rise to the top. And, obviously, Corchado, once a migrant worker in California, was quite successful. This note touched me in a special way because the author is a Mexican American, born in Mexico, whose parents encouraged him to cross the border so that he could thrive. He’s a Chicano frayed between his loyalty to the United States and his wanting to see his parent’s home country, once his own, rise with dignity as a progressive nation. Most Anglo Americans have absolutely no sense of what these conflicting feelings might be and so reading this book might help appreciate this. Perhaps the biggest thought I drew from this book is that Corchado cautiously lets the reader learn of the complex and convoluted relationships that arise between the drug capos and the politicians who run the country. Long ago, I had concluded a relationship of sorts existed but "Midnight" allowed me to appreciate and understand it a bit more. There is a political delicateness involved not only on the part of Mexican authorities but American ones too. Corchado’s most important informant, an “American investigator,” admits to these unnerving and dicey double-binding situations in the last chapters. In other words, to condemn Mexican officials as merely corrupt and inept and dismiss the whole Mexican drug schmear as a symptom of underdevelopment, or something akin to that, may satisfy many pedestrian observers but not others who know of the cultural and social intricacies involved. "Midnight" is helpful because it a personalized angle that lets us know how subtle and dangerous these intricacies can be in a society torn by poverty, bone-deep traditional ways, and the growing pressures for transparency and good government. Few Americans can appreciate these dilemmas.


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