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Chalino Sanchez was a migrant worker who became a underground singer of narcocorridos — ballads about drug smugglers – until his murder, which is still unsolved. Then he became a legend.
Two traveling salesmen plied their wares in a sweltering small town. The next day they were hanging from the town’s bandstand lynched by a mob, a thousand strong.
Hailed as a cult classic, True Tales From Another Mexico takes us to a colony of drag queens — jotos — preparing for Mexico’s oldest gay beauty contest.
We see how a bunch of humble rancheros invented the Michoacana popsicle, and a business model that poor people used to grow rich.
We follow a Oaxacan Indian basketball team in Los Angeles as its coach fights to restore the purity of his sport, besmirched in America.
Aristeo Prado was a gunfighter and robber — a valiente trying to escape his past — when he was ambushed on a noontime street and died going for his gun.
Telenovelas, once a propaganda vehicle of Mexico’s one-party state, flourished with political change and touched topics — corruption, drug trafficking and poverty — that once were prohibited.
In Nueva Jerusalen, a theocratic village run by an excommunicated Catholic priest, residents receive voting instructions from the Virgin of Guadalupe.
We enter the Bronx – the rude boys in the PRI wing of Mexico’s Congress — as they struggle with the meaning of rebellion.
Some of these stories are strange and exotic. More often, though, they are from mainstream though ignored parts of Mexican life.
True Tales from Another Mexico are the stories of people whose stories never get told.
“… a tireless reporter, fascinated by the stories that lie behind an ephemeral headline in the Mexican press.”
“The most original American reporter on Mexico and the border out there.”
SF Chronicle Book Review
“Sometimes, the narrative takes unbelievable turns, yet the author has met each of his subjects, and, while his text is by necessity anecdotal, his is a refreshing treatment of a country in which everything has been penetrated by the ruling party. He recounts stories of men who dress as women, of the narcotraficantes, and of the chamber of deputies’ section called The Bronx, where misbehaving is both common and a specialty.”
Here’s what Gustavo Arellano had to say about the book on NPR’s All Things Considered.