Staff Picks: Murder City

Jul 30, 2019

Journalist Charles Bowden spent some 15 years writing about Ciudad Juarez, witnessing what he calls the collapse of a society. Bowden joins Doug to talk about his book “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.”

The journalist Charles Bowden passed away in 2014. He spent some 15 years writing about Ciudad Juarez, and he witnessed what he describes as the collapse of a society. In 2009, there were 2,600 murders in Juarez. That’s up from 300 in 2007. Houses sit empty. Jobs have disappeared, and drug cartels hold the city in their grip. Bowden joins Doug to talk about his book “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.”  

On Friday, August 30th, Ken Sanders Rare Books is hosting a celebration of Charles Bowden's life. You'll find details here.

Here's what KUER's managing news editor Elaine Clark has to say about the episode:

Charles Bowden never shied away from the hard stuff. We had the chance to talk to him seven times, and the last time was about his book that chronicled the crisis in Ciudad Juarez. He never blinked and he never sugar-coated the truth. The most important thing I learned from Bowden, though, was in an email – some advice he gave me about writing: "Here are the two essentials: love and a willingness to fail. Without love you cannot become other people and crawl inside their strange lives. And unless you are willing to fail, you choke before you begin and do safe and easy and limited and pointless things. After that, it is simply improvisation."