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God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre by Richard Grant Review

Title: God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre

Author: Richard Grant

First published January 1, 2008

288 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781416534402 (ISBN10: 1416534407)

Rating: 3.98


Richard Grant takes readers on a thrilling journey through the lawless heart of the Sierra Madre mountains in his gripping travelogue, “God’s Middle Finger”. Known for its rugged terrain and notorious history, the Sierra Madre is home to drug smugglers, bandits, cave-dwelling Tarahumara Indians, cowboys, and other outcasts.

The Mexican government has deemed it too dangerous to control, leaving the region to be dominated by drug lords who have turned it into one of the largest drug-producing areas in the world. Despite the warnings of locals, Grant finds himself drawn to the region and embarks on a reckless adventure that leads him down a dangerous path.

From folk healers to cocaine-snorting policemen, buried treasure to bizarre religious rituals, Grant’s journey is filled with fascinating insights and dark humor that bring this unique and uncharted world to life.

About the Author

Meet Richard Grant, a British travel writer who currently resides in Arizona. But his roots are spread across different countries as he was born in Malaysia and spent some time in Kuwait before moving to London.

He attended school in Hammersmith and earned a degree in history from University College, London. Initially, he had different jobs, including working as a security guard, janitor, house painter, and club DJ.

But, eventually, he moved to the United States and lived a wandering life in the American West before settling in Tucson, Arizona, which became his base for traveling. Grant’s writing has been published in various magazines, such as Men’s Journal, Esquire, and Details, helping him to support himself.

Grant’s third book, published in 2011, is an account of his journeys through East Africa in challenging situations. He writes about his attempt to make the first descent of the Malagarasi River in Tanzania, among other experiences.

Editoral Review

God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre, written by Richard Grant, invites readers into a mysterious and treacherous region of Mexico that few have ventured. This non-fiction book explores the Sierra Madre mountain range, where drug cartels, indigenous communities, and the Mexican government collide.

First published in 2008, the book has received critical acclaim for its riveting storytelling and immersive narrative. Richard Grant, an English writer and journalist, has written extensively about travel, culture, and the American West.

In God’s Middle Finger, he recounts his experiences in the Sierra Madre region, where he spent several months journeying through the mountains and encountering a variety of colorful characters, including drug traffickers, bandits, and farmers. Through Grant’s eyes, readers witness the complex social and political landscape of Mexico, where corruption and violence intersect with beauty and tradition.

The book begins with Grant’s arrival in the town of Mazatlán, where he meets a group of drug traffickers who offer to take him on a journey through the Sierra Madre. Along the way, Grant meets indigenous communities, farmers, and other individuals who share their stories with him.

Despite the danger and uncertainty of his travels, Grant becomes increasingly drawn to the region and its inhabitants. Grant’s writing is vivid and evocative, immersing readers in the landscape and culture of the Sierra Madre.

His characters are complex and multi-dimensional, challenging stereotypes and assumptions about life in rural Mexico. The book also explores the historical and cultural significance of the Sierra Madre region, tracing its indigenous heritage and the impact of colonialism and capitalism.

One of the strengths of God’s Middle Finger is its balanced portrayal of the region and its people. While Grant acknowledges the violence and corruption that exist, he also highlights the resilience and kindness of the communities he encounters.

The book is both an engaging adventure story and a nuanced socio-political analysis, with Grant providing thoughtful insights on the complex issues facing modern Mexico. However, there are some limitations to the book.

At times, the narrative can become disjointed, with Grant jumping between different stories and characters. Additionally, some readers may find the book’s focus on drug trafficking and violence to be overly sensationalized.

Overall, God’s Middle Finger is a compelling and thought-provoking book that offers a unique perspective on one of the most complex regions of the world. It will be of interest to readers interested in travel writing, political analysis, and cultural exploration.

The book receives a rating of 4 out of 5, based on its engaging storytelling, immersive narrative, and thoughtful analysis.