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God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
God's Middle Finger Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
Author: Richard Grant
Twenty miles south of the Arizona-Mexico border, the rugged, beautiful Sierra Madre mountains begin their dramatic ascent. Almost 900 miles long, the range climbs to nearly 11,000 feet and boasts several canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. The rules of law and society have never taken hold in the Sierra Madre, which is home to bandits, drug sm...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9781416534402
ISBN-10: 1416534407
Publication Date: 3/4/2008
Pages: 304
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 17 ratings
Publisher: Free Press
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

annalovesbooks avatar reviewed God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre on
Helpful Score: 4
ISBN 1416534407 - I'm not at all sure what I was expecting when I picked up a copy of this book, but I'm absolutely positive that it wasn't what I got! It is weird that this book, which might reasonably be taken as a warning about some of the dangers of traveling in some areas of Mexico, is marked as a "Travel" book. If anything, it's more of a "Don't Travel!" book.

Author Richard Grant, with a romanticized Wild West opinion of the Sierra Madre, disregards all sorts of advice from all sorts of people and heads into the most lawless area of Mexico, looking for... adventure? Maybe proof that everyone who warned him was wrong? Or that they were right? Using the names of friends and acquaintances to introduce himself to people who are, traditionally, wary of strangers, Grant finds a beautiful, wild and colorful land that hides a darker and far scarier side from outsiders. His travels are fascinating, sad, frightening and even funny.

Reading this with no personal background in Mexico, I found it to be over the top and unlikely. Then I talked to friends who know the country, having lived there. They all agree that the book is realistic, which surprised me. At the same time, they made sure to point out that the author clearly set out to find what he found. Heading into the lands owned by violent and dangerous drug growers and cartels, it's hardly a surprise that Grant found violent and dangerous people in a violent and dangerous place. Grant compares the Sierra Madre to the Wild West, probably a very good comparison. Romanticized with time and distance, the Wild West was a deadly place to be for a lot of people. I don't know that I'd let this book keep me from visiting Mexico, although I'd probably stay out of the Sierra Madre. True or not, hyperbole or accurate, the book is well written and an interesting read. Some of the rougher language will offend some readers and the rather abrupt ending is a minor disappointment but God's Middle Finger is still one of the best books I've read lately.

- AnnaLovesBooks
booklit avatar reviewed God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre on + 473 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting book about the Sierra Madre. Laugh out loud funny at times.
Sandiinmississippi avatar reviewed God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Richard Grant heads into the Sierra Madre mainly to have an adventure and experience the kind of out-of-control, wild-west behaviors and events we have come to expect from this area. He initially spells out all the old myths & ideas and that kind of made me doubt the book would be 'all that.' However, it was! The lawlessness & macho & reckless behavior get a little old about 2/3 of the way through. And in many ways that's what the book tells us; the theme may be that, while romantic & exciting, such things make a tough way to live. Nothing he sees or does changes Grant, he participates in the sense of trying to understand why natives feel as they do about outsiders.

He doesn't moralize about dope trade but he does make it clear that the Sierra Madre has come to be very hard to take, despite many beautiful aspects, mainly because of how people there find growing and selling drugs is truly the only way to make much of a living in such rough country. Don't let the language completely turn you off. Grant obviously doesn't care for the peppering of every conversation with curses, so he goes over the top to start out with and to get his reader to understand that one of the things he finds strange is that nearly everyone he encounters uses 'colorful' language at all times. It's part of the macho pose. You'll like some of the people he meets and disrespect others - but the book held my interest 100% start to finish.
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