- Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
- Verlag: Back Bay Books; Auflage: Reprint (19. September 2005)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0316010804
- ISBN-13: 978-0316010801
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 1,9 x 21 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
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The Devil's Highway: A True Story (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 19. September 2005
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Describes the attempt of twenty-six men to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, a region known as the Devil's Highway, detailing their harrowing ordeal and battle for survival against impossible odds.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Luis Alberto Urrea is author of widely acclaimed novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction for The Devil's Highway. A member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Luis was born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother.
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The author describes the conditions and historic events that lead to the beginning of the illegal immigration into the US and draws a clear parallelism with our times, when there are several tasks in the US that Americans are reluctant to do, thus illegal immigrants are needed for this. When price changes in international markets adversely affected the Mexican economy and overpopulation became a problem, some Mexicans decided to come to the US. They ended up with a comfortable life, so when others found out, a growing interest in crossing the border developed.
Organizations of coyotes were formed to provide supply for the growing demand, and the poor people seeking a better future became just a means to an end. These individuals in their attempts have to fight against the heat of the desert, thirst, exhaustion, "la migra" (Border Patrol) and the coyotes themselves. On top of this, the control at the border has intensified throughout the last years, so the groups seeking a new future have to go through more dangerous paths each time. In the case of the twenty-six Mexicans that are the center of this story, the point of entry was the Devil's Highway, a deadly desert in Arizona that has claimed numerous victims through the years.
Urrea shows his outstanding knowledge of the topic in question and uses this in his descriptions with no holes barred. One of the most shocking passages of the book was the explanation of the different stages of death by heat, which go from Heat Stress to Heat Stroke. The realism and brutality of this account left me absolutely breathless. Overall, the quality of the novel is outstanding and even though it is a tough read at some points, in the end it is extremely satisfying and enlightening.
But even with a slightly padded feel to it, it's the last twenty or so pages of the "Devil's Highway" that deliver the goods. Urrea could easily expand on those twenty pages and write a new book the current state of things Mexican - and American. There were some real revelations for me - such as Mexico losing jobs to China - just like everyone else, which of course contributes to the lure of going North. How illegal immigration contributes to suppressing wages in the U.S., which is why Industry just loves the current situation. The sheer violence (and weirdness) of the border: Mexican law enforcement crossing over in pursuits and shootouts; a very disturbing wave of what seems to be connected murders of women in Juarez (it's been going on for ten years!); and of course the deadly trek north, with Hope and Death sitting in the balance, while Money holds the scales.
Urrea uses this one situation, which as picked up by the media, and sensationalized, as a representation of a larger story. In this same year, a total of 417 died attempting unauthorized border crossings, and those are only the ones who were found. The walkers from Mexico are in a desperate search for a better life for them and their families, while the border patrol is trying to fulfill the law, attempting the capture the illegals as they enter the country, though also concerned for their safety.
The issue of immigration enforcement, and border policy is very complicated. Reading this gave me a great picture of what is going on there, and how many sides to the story there are. There are many positive changes taking place, but the US has a long way to go to find the best solution. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about border policy and the stories behind the walkers attempting to cross to a better life.
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