Author: Alfredo Corchado
Publisher: The Penguin Press, Penguin Group, 375 Hudson Street, NY, NY 10014
Copyright: 2013, ISBN: 1594204395
Cover: Keith Hayes
Summary: Reporter Alfredo Corchado, born in Mexico, returns to Mexico as a U. S. newspaper foreign correspondent covering the drug war. An extraordinarily thought-provoking look at Mexico’s past and present with implications for its future neatly concealed between the lines. The book also goes a long way in explaining why “illegal” immigration may be more a clash of cultures than a clash over territorial boundaries.
It is impossible to read MIDNIGHT IN MEXICO without thinking of Andrew Pham’s 1999 CATFISH AND MANDALA. Both, in their own way, are travelogues through cultures juxtaposed against American beliefs and values. The difference between the two exploring perspectives is glaring and you cannot help but be conscious of those differences as you read. For me as a reviewer, I was very much aware of my 1969-1970 experiences in Vietnam as I read CATFISH AND MANDALA. I was also aware of the Vietnamese refugees and immigrants I have met since. Nothing I read in the book altered my attitude toward the Vietnamese people. They are, as a people, closer to the land than someone living in cosmopolitan New York or Chicago. They were and are closer to the land than someone removed some ten years from the red-dirt of Georgia where I spent my early years. Regardless of one’s locale in America, identification and empathy are easily extended to peoples of agrarian cultures because American beliefs and values are agrarian at to their roots.