Readers won’t look at the war on drugs the same way after reading Hurowitz’s damning account.



A fast-paced study of the infamous, now imprisoned Mexican drug lord and the social structures that supported and enabled his rise.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán (1957), who headed the Sinaloa drug cartel for decades, may have flattered himself with comparisons to Jesús Malverde, a Mexican counterpart of Robin Hood. Freelance journalist Hurowitz writes that Guzmán, like other drug lords, “certainly distributed portions of their illegal largesse after hitting it big,” funding infrastructural improvements that weren’t entirely selfless—e.g., a new road leading to poppy and marijuana fields in the Sierra Madre. The author makes an important point early on: Guzmán was able to accumulate such wealth and power thanks to the market north of the border, “the world’s largest consumer of illicit drugs.” Indeed, it is American involvement that conditions the entirety of the drug trade, which has relied on a kind of symbiosis with the Mexican government: The drug kingpins support the politicians, the politicians support the drug trade if only by ignoring it. With the collapse of one-party rule in Mexico and the emergence of several competing cartels, the drug trade became a government unto itself, and few were more vigorous in amassing power than Guzmán. Hurowitz’s portrait of Guzmán is a touch overlong and sometimes repetitious—e.g., when he writes, multiple times, of Guzmán’s “beady” or “beady little eyes.” Still, his tale of Guzmán’s rise and vicious rule is comprehensive, as is his account of how Guzmán, rightly paranoid thanks to the willingness of his lieutenants to sell him out, was finally captured and brought to the U.S. “His final act is playing out now, in a tiny cell in a supermax prison on the windswept high desert plains of Colorado,” writes Hurowitz, adding that the drug trade is essentially unaffected by his removal. “In Mexico,” he writes, “the story goes on without him.”

Readers won’t look at the war on drugs the same way after reading Hurowitz’s damning account.

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982133-75-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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