Hernández, with her searing analysis of an ongoing brutality, adds another notch to a history of Mexican journalism and public indictment against the government ... Her evidence is compelling. A Massacre in Mexico is a limber display of investigative journalism. The reader, no doubt, leaves this book informed of how things work in the halls of outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto's Mexico. Along the way, this riveting nexus of truth and lie is a sickening reading process ... The book reads like a long, immersive magazine feature, one that takes a surgical blade to a labyrinthine corruption scandal ... Structurally, Hernández circles her subjects like a hawk, or, rather, like a savvy producer; what I mean to say is that this book flows elegantly for the narrative-obsessed reader otherwise unfamiliar with the political leitmotifs of Mexican civil society. It's not an easy read, but its simplicity in prose is an achievement. It reads like a season of Serial on the page, one might say.
An average reader will find reading Hernandez’s work challenging and confusing at time[s], not because of the structure of the book, but because of the complexity of the Mexican Drug War, the sheer volume of individuals, state and non-state actors involved and the number of governmental agencies, sub-agencies and companies mired in corruption is endless ... On its own A Massacre in Mexico is brilliant, accompanied by Narcoland, it is a masterful piece of journalism which counteracts the narrative of the state.
What emerges is a terrifying picture of how all levels of government have worked to stand up a series of lies as their 'historical truth.' She provides visceral descriptions of torture to confirm a story that is reminiscent of the dirty war in the Argentinian and Chilean dictatorships of the 70s ... The government 'truth' is held together by the almost tangible fear that any witnesses feel after decades of violence ... But faced with Hernández’s minute analysis, the discrepancies between their forced accounts, the contradictions of lies, are laid out in pummelling detail ... Unhappily, this meticulously detailed approach may render parts of the book impenetrable to the average reader. Few will have the will to track which bus was which, or remember which acronym stands for which federal body ... Hernández’s achievement is to turn this fate of 43 disappeared students into the continuing story of a state out of control. Mexico is still a democracy, and the president-elect is genuinely offering a radical new agenda in dealing with the cartels.
Newly published in English, the book...comprehensively demolishes what the government has dubbed the 'historic truth.' Instead, it makes a convincing case for the existence of a cover-up to hide what Ms Hernández alleges was federal police involvement in atrocities and the army’s role in protecting a $2m consignment of heroin. This book does not reveal what finally happened to the students [who vanished in Iguala in 2014]. Four years on, that remains a mystery. But Ms Hernández vividly reconstructs the dramatic hours in which they were attacked and rounded up by security forces ... The book reconstructs the night’s events minutely; it is easy for readers to end up bogged down in detail. But one thing appears crystal clear: the official 'truth' does not add up.
A Massacre in Mexico exposes a startling level of corruption, violence, and struggle in that country. Hernandez’s writing shines brilliantly as she unearths the personal elements of the story. Interviews with survivors of the massacre, with victims of government corruption, and with political officials themselves come together for a vivid reconstruction of the events of that day. The prose often churns with passion ... However, the sometimes minute-by-minute rundown of events reads like a police report at times and less like a compelling story. This is sure to be a controversial, significant work, one that might anger more than a few powerful people in Mexico.
... like a forensic report. The author has created a painstaking chronology of the events of the night, and doggedly tracks down new evidence ... Though [Hernandez's] account is at times scattered and confusing, her review of the evidence exposes the obfuscations of the government’s investigation ... she builds a convincing case that someone was engineering the confessions to support the government’s account ... pays tribute to the normalista movement and the victims’ families.