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The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis…

The Devil's Highway: A True Story (2004)

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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8494416,183 (4.01)88

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
The first fifth was interesting about the routines and procedures of the border patrols in Yuma vs Tuscon.

If you haven't already read Ted Conover's Coyotes read it first (or instead). ( )
  pizzadj2 | May 27, 2019 |
Originally published in 2004 this is the story of a group of Mexican men and teenage boys attempting to enter the United States through the desert in Arizona. Things went horribly wrong and 14 of the 26 men died before they were found and rescued.

This is the first book I've read by Luis Alberto Urrea but it most definitely won't be the last. He has the ability to paint an image (complete with soundtrack) with his words. The writing is simply beautiful despite the sadness of the story.

These men, led by an inept coyote who took a wrong turn and refused to admit he was lost suffered horribly. At one point, the author details the stages of Hyperthermia and death in temperatures well over 100º. It's not a peaceful death.

Urrea tells a very balanced story. There is both cruelty and compassionate humanity on both sides of the literal fence. The ebook I read included an afterward written 10 years after the original publication and while some things had changed, much was still the same along the border. This was before the rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential campaign started.

This is still very much a timely book and while tragic and sad is also beautifully told. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Jan 16, 2019 |
This book would presents a look at the immigration issue by telling the story of a group of walkers who died in or survived a Mexican border crossing in which they "got lost" and suffered greatly in the Arizona desert. The immigration issue is a complex issue, and this book certainly describes a horrific experience. It paints a picture that will stay with the reader long after they complete the book. I listened to the audio version produced by Hachette and offered through the summer AudioSync program. Unfortunately the narrator read too slowly for me, and his voice was not expressive enough in places. He tried to create expression through pauses rather than vocal inflections. ( )
  thornton37814 | Dec 22, 2018 |
First published in 2004, the stories of undocumented immigrants trying to enter the US illegally has not changed as much as I had hoped. This book tells the story of the a large group of men (in this particular crossing, it was only men) trying to cross with the help of an inept coyote. About half of them died; all of them suffered. These were men who were trying not to be drug lords or rapists or murderers. These were men who were trying to make a better life for their families.

In 2004 immigration was a problem but it was not as front-and-center, not as feared as today. The version I read had an afterword written 10 years after publication. The writing in the book was not stellar. It occasionally tended towards purple prose. But it was effective. I think the writing in the afterword was more mature. Still, this is a book well worth reading. We as a country cannot continue this ineffective and cruel practice of preventing entry into the US by good people who just want a better life. This book displays the humanity and the cruelty on both sides of the (sometimes literal) fence.

Some of the quotes I noted:
“Writing the book made me angry. I am much more pleasant when writing haiku.”

“Everybody loves Jesus Christ. They just don't know what to do with Jesus Garcia.”

“Once a Tea Party maven demanded to see my papers or they wouldn't pay me for my lecture.”

And this one in the acknowledgments (Yes, I do read those, too):
“Mike's harem of newswomen was also a delight.”

Excuse me?? Harem?? Apparently, all of us have our missteps. Still, a very good read for anyone who cares about immigration and immigrants. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Dec 7, 2018 |
A non-fiction novel, The Devil’s Highway tells about 26 immigrants getting lost as they cross the desert into Arizona with only 12 surviving.

I like listening to podcasts, and recently RadioLab had a three-part series on immigration. They began reading from a book and talking about how a man got interested in the people who die in the Arizona desert crossing the border. He wanted to help people learn what happened to their family members. The series also dealt with El Paso and why crossing the border changed, causing immigrants to choose the desert when it’s a place that is so inhospitable that humans cannot live there long. This book is the book they began their series with, quoting from it. Coincidentally, Audiobook Sync released it as one of their novels this summer. It was meant to be--I absolutely had to listen to it. I would recommend reading it because there’s a lot to remember and process. I would have done better reading it--I would forget something, and because it’s hard to backtrack on audio, I wouldn’t, so I know I missed some connections and some content.

The author explains the history of the area, discusses the biological facts of the body in a desert, and tells the story from both points of view--the border agents and the immigrants. Only after the deaths could the story be pieced together--Urrea finds the missteps that caused the deaths of these men. It’s a fascinating tale of the coyotes who take advantage of the desperate who seek a better life, of the border agents who work day and night in remote locations risking their own lives to help and detain those who cross, and of the people who find their lives shortened by a planned, short outing in the desert. It’s brutal but a story to know about. No matter your opinion on immigration, this explains some of the history and the dangers involved. ( )
  acargile | Jul 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Working with material from numerous interviews with many of the survivors of the ill-fated expedition, their families and the Border Patrol officers, and dramatizing -- which is to say, conjuring and imagining -- the links between the facts he has and the facts he doesn't have, Urrea, a poet, goes further than most previous attempts by journalists of every level of ability who have tackled this subject before.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316010804, Paperback)

The author of "Across the Wire" offers brilliant investigative reporting of what went wrong when, in May 2001, a group of 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona. Only 12 men came back out. "Superb . . . Nothing less than a saga on the scale of the Exodus and an ordeal as heartbreaking as the Passion . . . The book comes vividly alive with a richness of language and a mastery of narrative detail that only the most gifted of writers are able to achieve.--"Los Angeles Times Book Review."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:12 -0400)

An account of "twenty-six men who in May 2001 attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadly region known as the Devil's Highway ... Only twelve of the men made it out."--Cover p. [4].

» see all 4 descriptions

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Luis Alberto Urrea is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (4.01)
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1.5 3
2 2
3 21
3.5 17
4 73
4.5 11
5 49


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