The best books on the USA Mexico border 📚

Browse the best books on the USA Mexico border as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future

Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future

By Charles Bowden

Why this book?

I could have picked almost any of Bowden’s books on the border, for example, the excellent Murder City, but I’m choosing Laboratory of the Future as it’s the first piece of his writing I came across. Bowden, who lived on both sides of the US/Mexican border for many years, was intimate with his subject, and the brutal power of his journalistic writing puts most novelists to shame. He is not afraid to question us or confront us, or hide his anger, but it is never unwarranted. In this book, he, and the thirteen Mexican photographers whose frequently shocking images accompany…

From the list:

The best books on the USA / Mexico border, drug cartels, and misery

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Book cover of Death and the Idea of Mexico

Death and the Idea of Mexico

By Claudio Lomnitz

Why this book?

I wanted to include a book here on ‘Holy Death’ herself, Santa Muerte, but there simply isn’t a good one. There’s a terrible one published by a once respectable academic publisher, but I can’t recommend it. Instead, there are some passages on Santa Muerte in this huge and significant piece of work: Lomnitz’s encyclopedic book digs into Mexico’s deep roots to explore the long relationship the country has with Death, of which the still growing ‘cult’ of Santa Muerte is but one emanation.

From the list:

The best books on the USA / Mexico border, drug cartels, and misery

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Book cover of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

By Francisco Cantú

Why this book?

Melding his time as a Border Patrol agent with memories of exploring the Mexico-U.S. border region as a child with his mother, Cantú provides a dynamic mash-up of a book: one part insider account from within the agency, detailing his encounters with violent criminals as well as desperate migrants, and one part personal meditation on the border region, searching for meaning and understanding when it comes to the landscape and complicated histories of the U.S. southern border region. 

From the list:

The best books for understanding borders in a globalized world

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Book cover of The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious

The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious

By John Dodson

Why this book?

Dodson was an officer for the ATF working along the border with Mexico. He stumbled across the scandal behind Operation Fast and Furious, and rather than keeping quiet, he took the risky step of whistleblowing on covert operations by US government agencies in collusion with the drug gangs of Mexico, and the death of Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry.

From the list:

The best books on the USA / Mexico border, drug cartels, and misery

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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