But he says the violence of the drug cartels and the government's war hit just about everyone who lives there, and left the city vulnerable and paranoid. Eleven thousand people were killed in Juarez between January of 2008 and December of 2012.
Ainslie focuses on the few years right after the war against the cartels started in 2007 and looks at the city's plight through the eyes of the mayor, a cartel member's mistress, a human right activist, and a photo journalist in his new book The Fight to Save Juarez: Life in the Heart of Mexico's Drug War.
Hear more from Juarez about the history of drug trafficking and cartels in Mexico, and how the city of Juarez may be starting to turn around, by listening to the interview on this page. Ricardo Ainslie is also appearing Monday, April 15, at 7:00 p.m. at BookPeople in Austin.