TRAIL OF FEATHERS by Robert Rivard


Searching for Philip True
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After an American journalist is murdered in a remote area of Mexico, his editor pursues the truth—and the killers—with astonishing fidelity and tenacity.

In 1998, Philip True, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, did not return from a hike into the wilderness to research a story on the Huichol, a people little known to outsiders. His battered body was eventually discovered in a shallow canyon grave. Rivard, who was True’s editor, then launched what turned out to be a six-year investigation that ended with the convictions of two Huichol, both of whom remain at large. The author does his best to explain the contradictions and conundrums of the Mexican political and judicial systems. At times the narrative feels like a Latin-American Bleak House, where truth and justice seem incidental. Involved in defending the killers were two unlikely allies: a moneyed American ex-patriate, Miguel Gatins, who believed the Indians were falsely accused, and a Mexican woman, Patricia Morales, who came forward only at the 11th hour to declare that she knew the two Huichol to be guilty. Bemused and even dumbfounded at times, the author provides the backstories on most of the principals and is generous with his opponents, characterizing them as misguided rather than evil. He is careful, as well, to expose the weaknesses in our own judicial system with a chapter about a couple of nasty miscarriages of justice in cases involving Mexican nationals in the U.S.

Displays the commitment of a professional journalist and the devotion of a friend.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2005
ISBN: 1-58648-222-X
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2005


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