MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang

Backorder (temporarily out of stock)
21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$28.99  $26.96
Hanover Square Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.4 X 1.1 inches | 1.0 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author

Steven Dudley is the cofounder of InSight Crime, a think tank devoted to organized crime and corruption in the Americas. As a journalist in Latin America, he spent the past two decades writing for the Washington Post, NPR, the BBC and the Miami Herald. A senior fellow at American University, he is currently codirecting a three-year study funded by the US Justice Department on the MS-13 in El Salvador, DC, and LA. MS-13 is the winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Award and his first book.

"Steven Dudley's MS-13 is a remarkable feat of reporting; the ways in which the United States is complicit in the creation and preservation of MS-13 might well keep you awake deep into the night, as it did me. I can't shake this book, or the feeling that we have doomed so many young men to a life of violence. We have to do better for them, for our children, and for our collective future."--Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

"Steven Dudley's great contribution in this landmark account of MS-13 is to take a subject that has been sensationalized and mythologized and politicized beyond recognition and, through painstaking reporting and clear-eyed analysis, capture a truth that is less exotic--but more fascinating--than the headlines. Rather than default to easy alarmism or xenophobic caricatures, Dudley captures the origins of the gang as a human story of migration and migrant communities, and a policy story, about the unintended consequences of U.S. policy. By detailing the experiences of gang members and victims alike, he anatomizes the complex, fluid dynamics of this elusive transnational network. A startling book."--Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

"Steve Dudley's clear prose helps untangle the murky world of the MS-13 gang and its little-known history and origins. Dudley's time spent with gang members offers keen observations on the complex nature of the gang's social, criminal and economic structures that few have had access to. As Dudley shows, the gangs formed, grew and evolved for many reasons, and its members are not cartoon gangsters but real people dealing with harsh realities that often result in great harm and loss in repeated cycles. Dudley provides vital details and context for the U.S. policies that make the problems worse rather than better our fundamental inability to deal with this rapidly evolving reality."--Douglas Farah, author of Blood from Stones

"Ripped straight from the headlines, MS-13, is one of the year's most important books, a gripping meticulously reported account of the rise of one of the world's most notorious street gangs. Author Steven Dudley spent years studying MS-13. With his remarkable access, Dudley skillfully weaves in the story of gang members to show how MS-13 grew from a social network to a criminal enterprise that President Trump has blamed for the rise of violent attacks in communities across the United States. After relatively humble beginnings in Los Angeles in the 1980s, it has spread to more than a half-dozen countries and become the focus of law enforcement in the United States and Central America. In spite of these efforts, MS-13 remains a threat. But Dudley does more than chronicle the history of the gang. He uses MS-13 to tell a larger story of flawed U.S. policy that has helped the gang flourish."--Mitch Weiss, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Broken Faith and Tiger Force

"Steven Dudley's latest book is a historical treatise moved forward by a series of captivating narratives that present a wholistic, unifying perspective on the Mara Salvatrucha. Where other authors have stopped short in their own work on this mysterious gang, Dudley's research presses deeper into the past, and walks father into the countryside of El Salvador and neighborhoods of Los Angeles to bring to the conversation a thoroughly researched and reported body of work. In one read, MS-13 counterbalances many of the wrong assumptions made about the gang among politicians and law enforcement while highlighting some of the most often obfuscated truths about the realities of what it means to be a Mara Salvatrucha, from wannabe to homie, and then desperate to escape a gang that never lets you go."--Samuel Logan, author of This is for the Mara Salvatrucha

"Steven Dudley skillfully cuts through the hype and clichés to tell the dirty true story of the gang--from its painful birth in Los Angeles to its bloody adolescence in El Salvador to the showdown in the Trump era. People need to read this thorough investigation to find a better way."--Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco and Gangster Warlord

"The definitive account of MS-13... An outstanding book for true crime readers."--Library Journal STARRED review

"Chilling....For anyone who has ever wondered why and how gang members are made, Dudley has the answers."--Publishers Weekly

"Trenchant....A cleareyed account of a criminal enterprise that is undeniably a threat to civil society wherever it turns up."--Kirkus Reviews

"A deep dive written in plain prose backed by years of research, MS-13 is a remarkable resource for thorough understanding."--Shelf Awareness