The authors do a wonderful job explaining how Mexico’s ordeal grew out of the seven-decade rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, a nationwide Tammany Hall that suffocated the best in the country while exalting the most inert, before Mexicans voted it out of power in 2000. (It has since returned to the presidency but without the political monopoly it once enjoyed.)

Boullosa and Wallace connect the savagery as well to our war on drugs. Their binational tale includes U.S. drug prohibitions, Americans’ appetite for illegal dope and our childlike refusal to do anything serious to limit the flow of arms south, even as those guns and bullets have daily bathed Mexico in blood.

Their overview — a century of history in a few hundred pages — emerges ornate in detail yet refreshingly concise.

To read the full review, visit The Los Angeles Times.

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