The Line Becomes A River

The Line Becomes A River

Book - 2018
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"A former Border Patrol agent's haunting experience of an unnatural divide and the lives caught on either side, struggling to cross or to defend it"--
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2018
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735217713
Branch Call Number: 363.28509 C1693C 2018
Characteristics: 250 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Recommended by staff at Eagle Harbor Book Co.
A stark outlook on the volatile, terrifying landscape of immigration at our southern border, Cantús account originates from four years working for the Border Patrol, and takes on tragic dimensions when a good friend visits family in Mexico and is unab... Read More »

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Jun 28, 2020

Searing nonfiction about an American Hispanic college grad who joins the Border Patrol. Cantu writes beautifully as he recounts his experiences and then proceeds to criticize the American approach of "deterrence" and--necessarily--violence, with respect to our southern border that began with Bill Clinton. For me, the most wrenching part of the book was the recounting of the deportation of Jose Martinez, a Oaxacan, who had to leave his undocumented wife and his 3 American born children behind. I have been to Oaxaca City many times and am aware that practically every man of working age whose families have a hard time making ends meet has gone to the US to work at least once. Jose, and the vast majority of Mexicans who seek to cross our borders without papers are doing only what we would do if faced with the same situation--trying to provide for their families.

Jan 10, 2020

I was expecting more narrative testimonials of the incidents on the border, so on that sense I was a little disappointed. It does offer great insight to both sides overall, but in a generic way.

Oct 26, 2019

From the perspective of someone who is culturally and geographically far from Mexico and the immigration issue, this book brings more awareness to the situation in much of Mexico and the immigrants who want to leave. It also increases my support in finding better and quicker ways to provide more opportunities for any immigrants wanting to move to the United States.

bibliotom Jul 01, 2019

It's hard to hear "Dispatches" in a title without thinking of Michael Herr's Dispatches, the Vietnam War classic. Cantú's dispatches are from a different, less extreme kind of war, one that has been slowly simmering for years on the southern border. Cantú took some flak when the book was published for having worked in border enforcement at all, and the first parts of the book do focus on this experience, but he takes no joy in it. He's simply honest. Border Patrol agents have a nasty job to do, but they also save lives. The central problem is U.S. immigration policy, which is founded on a slippery slope fallacy and badly in need of reform. This is not a policy book, but it serves as a powerful argument for a more humanitarian immigration system. (less)

Apr 12, 2019

I thought this was an excellent, gripping account of one person's experience as a US Border Agent on the Mexican border. The style is perfect, reflecting as it does times of intense involvement, acute observation and thoughtful reflection over a period of several years. The fact that the book has attracted intense criticism from both sides of the debate over immigration policy might well be a sign that Cantú got it right: this is a very complex problem with searing human costs for all involved.

Hillsboro_RobP Apr 01, 2019

Although sometimes scattered and in need of some form to bring it all together, it's still an honest biographical account of what happens along the border, from a variety of perspectives. Anyone looking for political fuel will find something for whatever view they support, but I'd still rate it as an essential pick-up for those who want a clear view of what happens along the southern border. It's not easy on anyone involved, and not easy to read either.

Mar 24, 2019

Writing a little fragmented. Good book, but thought it would be more impactful, more informative when talking about border control.

Mar 11, 2019

Good for him. Some very interesting observations. Very readable

OPL_BethS Feb 06, 2019

The Line Becomes A River is a biography about a young man's experience as a Border Patrol agent after he studied immigration and the border in college. It's an informative mix of first hand experience and academic/historical material and is informative & eye-opening (as well as with mildly depressing).

Feb 05, 2019

His mother was right. Working as a Border Patrol Agent, albeit with humanity and compassion, changed the author. It marked him in ways he cannot number. The book recounts some of his experiences. Read it.

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