Saturday, June 23, 2012

Excellent Investigative Writing - Harden on North Korean Prison, Friel on Unsolved Murders & Keefe on Drug Cartels

Three fairly recent pieces of writing I've seen share the commonality of being extremely well done work on painful topics. Stories were published in The New York Times, Outside Magazine and The Guardian... with that from The Guardian being a book excerpt since removed from the website.

The New York Times piece was by Patrick Radden Keefe and titled "Cocaine Incorporated" with the subtitle "How A Mexican Cartel Makes it's Billions". Keefe is noted as being a former policy adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and he wrote an incredibly detailed look at the drug trade and specifically Joaquín Guzmán, C.E.O. of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

Story from the July issue of Outside Magazine was also a thorough look at a difficult topic, but with the subject likely more chilling than Mexican drug cartels (less removed from most people's lives). "The Vanishing" by Bob Friel is about the large numbers of women who have been murdered or simply vanished over four decades in a remote area of British Columbia. It's captivating writing from the the author of The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw.

Final piece to note was a book except published in the British newspaper The Guardian (and since removed from the site due to copyright expiration). Written by Blaine Harden, the excerpt showed Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West to have remarkable writing in the sense that it showed the complete lack of humanity in a North Korean political prison camp. To use the same word as applied to the Friel story... just chilling content, and which is also written about in a Washington Post review of Harden's book.