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The harrowing story of the extraordinary terror unfolding along the US-Mexico border - this is the secret war of drugs, gangs and guns that is destroying thousands of lives.

Amexica provides the first full account of the terror unfolding along the US-Mexico border. An area of land more than 2,000 miles long and 100 miles wide – effectively a country in its own right – has become a battleground. Drugs, guns and killings are the currency of everyday existence as an ever-escalating narco-war explodes out of control.

In the last three years more than 23,000 people have been murdered in Amexica as criminal drug cartels fight each other – with ever more inventive twists of violence – for pre-eminence in the ‘plazas’ – the rivers of narcotics flowing into America. The war is a grotesque pastiche of the globalised economy: the cartels are inextricably bound up with sweatshop factories, with the smuggling of guns south from the US, with the entertainment industry and with the mass abduction and exploitation of women.

This is both the busiest and most deadly frontier in the world, studded with guard-posts, infra-red searchlights and heavily armed patrols. It’s a war that’s scarcely reported – a war that’s being fought, with thousands dying and millions of lives blighted, so that Europe and America can get high.

Journalist Ed Vulliamy has long had a love-hate relationship with Amexica – the place and its people. For four months he went on a road trip, zigzagging along the entire border. This is the story of that journey and of the visits that preceded it; of the causes and consequences of the war and its impact on the everyday life which somehow goes on around it.


Amexica is fascinating, infuriating and inspiring. Essential reading

Don Winslow, author of The Power of the Dog

Previously, to understand the ruthlessness, ambition and impact of today's global criminals, you needed to read Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah and Misha Glenny's McMafia. Now, you also need to read Vulliamy's Amexica

Brian Schofield, Sunday Times

Like all good travel writing, Amexica is vivid, colorful and exotic, filled with striking vignettes and larger-than-life characters

New York Times

A harrowing read about the narcowars in Mexico, economic exploitation and the horrors of the globalised drug trade.

Fatima Bhutto, New Statesman

A book based on his long experience as a foreign correspondent along the increasingly frightening border between Mexico and the US.

Hugh Thomson, Independent

Another trip that you are happy the author took, rather than you, is Ed Vulliamy's traverse of the US-Mexican border in Amexica. This gripping investigation of the bloody "war about nothing" that is raging between various drugs cartels and the Mexican police and army is so current that in the two months since its publication, one of the leading characters, cartel chief Antonio "Tony the Storm" Guillen, has been gunned down after a 12-hour battle with Mexican marines

Sunday Times

This is a book - depressing and uniquely informative -about a vast no-man's land in which drug related gang violence has polluted the atmosphere. Once read it will be easily forgotten.

Contemporary Review

A gripping investigation of the bloody 'war about nothing' raging between drugs cartels and the Mexican police and army...to understand the ruthlessness, ambition and impact of today's global criminals, you need to read this book.

Brian Schofield, Sunday Times

He does illustrate most graphically how the fallout from the drugs trade can devastate vast regions

Alastair Mabbott, Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    December 1, 2011


    416 pages

    RRP $24.99

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  • EBook


    December 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    416 pages

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Also by Ed Vulliamy

The War is Dead, Long Live the War


Green Is The New Black
A Scandal in Bohemia
Red Notice
Home Sweet Murder
The Feather Thief
Mr Nice
The Monster of Florence
Breaking Vegas
Good Cop, Bad War
The Shepherd's Bush Murders
Lethal Force
Remembering Anita Cobby
The Dirty Game
In Pursuit of the Truth
One of the Family
The Secret Train Robber