Blood Gun Money: Firearms Trafficking Along America’s Iron River

Ioan Grillo. Bloomsbury, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-63557-278-0
Journalist Grillo (Gangster Warlords) delivers an alarming and deeply reported account of how the U.S. gun trade fuels bloodshed, terror, and refugee crises throughout the Western hemisphere. Noting that North and South America contain 47 of the 50 cities with the highest murder rates in the world, Grillo documents how weapons flow in an “iron river” from the legal gun industry to the black market through theft, straw purchases, and private sales (which don’t require background checks in the U.S.). He interviews ATF agents and Central American refugees fleeing gun violence, tracks assault rifles seized in a raid on a Mexican drug cartel to a weapons factory in Romania, interviews a black-market gun dealer who sells to neighborhood drug crews in Baltimore, sketches the history of the Kalashnikov rifle, and analyzes the cultural divide in the U.S. over gun control. Each piece of the puzzle comes together to illustrate the book’s key takeaway: “The United States churns out millions of guns” but has “relatively strong law enforcement that keeps organized crime in check”; meanwhile, “Latin America receives the flow of guns... and drowns in blood.” This expert account makes the high cost of America’s thirst for guns crystal clear. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/17/2020
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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