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     El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency is a non-fiction book of the Mexican Drug War written by Ioan Grillo. In El Narco, Grillo takes a close look at the Mexican drug trade, starting with the term "El Narco", which has come to represent the vast, faceless criminal network of drug traffickers who cast a murderous shadow over Mexico. The book covers the frontline of the Mexican Drug War. It seeks to trace the origins of the illegal drug trade in Mexico, the recent escalation of violence, the human cost of the drug trade and organized crime in the country. The book takes a critical stance on the unsuccessful efforts made by the Mexican government and the United States to confront the violence and its causes.


     Grillo's book draws a portrait of the Mexican drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the past couple of decades. For the author, the criminal organizations in Mexico are not gangs; they are a "movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains". The book explains how the cartels have created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of armed men from the country of Guatemala to the Texan border. It contains testimonies from members inside of the cartels; and while El Narco shows that the "devastation" of the Mexican Drug War may be south of the U.S. border, Grillo pinpoints that the United States "is knee-deep in this conflict".

     In the British edition, published in September 2011, the book bore the subtitle, "The Bloody Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels". The US edition came out two months later, bearing a different subtitle. A Spanish-language version of the book titled "El narco: En el corazón de la insurgencia criminal mexicana" has also been released.