Press & Reviews

Booklist (Starred Review)

Many sports books focus on an overachieving team’s inspiring season of glory; few highlight a sequence of unalloyed failure. But Powell’s account of the Indios’ record-breakingly awful 2009–10 season (which included a 27-game winless streak) provides a perfect metaphor for Ciudad Juárez, the team’s hometown: things are very bad there, and it’s going to be a long time before they get better. Powell, drawn to the notorious border town for the adrenaline, provides an edgy, anecdotal view of a place where “Murder is effectively legal.” Whether traveling with the team and drinking with its fans or jogging past body dumps along the heavily fortified border with El Paso, Powell captures surreal feelings of beauty and desolation, exuberance and danger. He falls in love with Juárez and its people but, like them, shuts down emotionally in order to survive. Though the Indios fail and fail big (they’re relegated from the Primera, Mexico’s top league, and the team was recently dissolved), Powell succeeds brilliantly, reminding us how difficult it is to generalize about a place—even a place that seems like hell—until we know the people. An eye-opening and unforgettable account of a part of the world that, for all its notoriety, is effectively invisible.


“Intoxicating … a memorable, clear-minded piece of first-person journalism that ranks up there with Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs or Susan Orlean’s best work.”

National Public Radio

“This Love Is Not for Cowards is wonderful, and sad.”


Five Stars (Highest Rating). “Brutally honest … a comprehensive picture of Juárez.”

Publishers Weekly

“Smart and witty … Not only a great sports book but also a powerful treatise on civics and human nature.”

The Economist

“Juárez’s mix of ordinariness and horror has seldom been so honestly described.”

Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Terrifying and sad, shocking and humorous … a must-read.”

The Boston Globe

“Clear-eyed and humane … Powell has succeeded in introducing his readers to a truth behind the grim and monotonous headlines.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Unsentimental and deeply humane.”

The Texas Observer

“Powell’s statistical research and vivid details about the murders and drug and human trafficking that permeate the city make this work of nonfiction difficult to put down.”

The Good Point

“Rating: 9.5/10 (The site’s highest-rated book ever)”

Foreword Reviews

“a riveting tale of blood, beauty, and even humor”

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