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Publisher's Summary

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, "the single most compelling, lucid, and lyrical contemporary account of the absurdity of U.S. border policy" (The Atlantic).

In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national best seller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern American classic. 

©2004 Luis Alberto Urrea (P)2011 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

"In artful yet uncomplicated prose, Urrea captivatingly tells how a dozen men squeezed by to safety...Confident and full of righteous rage, Urrea's story is a well-crafted melange of first-person testimony, geographic history, cultural and economic analysis, poetry and an indictment of immigration policy." (Publishers Weekly)

"Urrea writes about U.S.-Mexican border culture with a tragic and beautiful intimacy that has no equal." (Tom Montgomery Fate, Boston Globe)

"Urrea's writing is wickedly good - outrage tempered with concern channeled into deft prose." (Kathleen Johnson, Kansas City Star

"The single most compelling, lucid, and lyrical contemporary account of the absurdity of U.S. border policy." (The Atlantic

What listeners say about The Devil's Highway

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My Favorite Author to Listen to

Meticulous research, funneled through the heart of a poet; for me, this is about as good as it gets. Add to that Mr. Urrea's far-superior pronunciation of words and names in Spanish, and this is the best audiobook I've read in years. If you like horror, true crime or literary non-fiction (how many titles can you say that about?) get this one TODAY. I'm using all my credits on Urrea books until I read them all, and I'm buying print copies as well.

24 people found this helpful

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Great Book!

Recommend this book!
The storytelling, details, and overall journey are beautiful for such a sad story.
I read this entire book in one day...that's how amazing it is!

A Few Overall Themes:
Border Policies=The effects on humans
Border Patrol=BORSTAR=Improvements needed
Economic Reasons for crossing the border
Smugglers of Immigrants=Transnational Criminal Markets
Immigration Policy Recommendations

Take some time after reading the book to take a breather. The book was "heavy" with descriptive details that can lead a reader to "tear up."

13 people found this helpful

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Amazingly Disturbing!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this book. However, I would only recommend this book to a select group of readers who have an open mind and are searching for something a little different. I'm not too sure why I initially selected this particular download as it wouldn't have been my initial preference, but I had a surplus of credits. I'm so glad I picked this book. I am now googling the author, reading his interviews with Bill Moyers and now I'm hooked.

What other book might you compare The Devil's Highway to and why?

It's a haunting and harrowing read, much like Cormac Mccarthy's The Road. It's dark, gloomy, and in your face. While many readers get turned off with the grotesque details, I feel leaving out those details discounts the plight of the walkers and La Migra.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were no favorite scenes, but I wish the author would have invested more time in doing more follow up research on the dead walkers, the survivors and the Border Patrol agents who played a role in the rescue efforts.

If you could give The Devil's Highway a new subtitle, what would it be?

The Road to Perdition

Any additional comments?

Urrea's narration of his book was pure genius. His tone, pitch, mood, and command of the story was flawless. I stopped myself on several occasions fast forwarding to the key moments of despair due to the anxiety the was building inside of me.

22 people found this helpful

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Part Death Physiology, Part Tragic Poem

Very graphic and not for everyone. Occasionally I'd have to switch the iPod to lighter listening, only to find it insipid, long for this horribly graphic, incredibly sad story and switch it back again.

This is one of many tragedies of 2001 that was totally eclipsed and further complicated by 9/11.

There is an interactive map and a few photos if you google the book title, as well as a National Geographic article available on the internet about one of the wildlife areas mentioned that I found to be excellent companions to this book. I wish this type of material was included as a PDF download in more audiobooks that have so much to do with a place.

There is also an afterward, consisting of an interview with the author and acknowledgements that gave additional context after the book.

28 people found this helpful

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great!!!

I loved this story. the reading was wonderfully clear and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has desire to read a harsh story with a great message.

6 people found this helpful

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love love absolutely LOVE

Luis Alberto Urrea, intellectual voice of so many voices that have been silenced. Such amazing and real work here.

5 people found this helpful

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Difficult to hear

This awful, tragic story had to be told and it is done well by the author. There is much more to the story than what the press has reported and it is told in this book. I was saddened and quite uncomfortable to hear how and what happened and hope that all readers feel the same. I especially liked all the source information provided and the interview at the end. I recommend this book to everyone with a trace of humanity left in their conscience.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing read!

Wow, a true story well told with a balance story from all sides. well worth the cost!!

4 people found this helpful

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Dynamic informative true story

Narrated by the author this compelling story is extremely emotional and eye opening. It will leave you in tears.

4 people found this helpful

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Slow Start...

Slow start, but once the journey begins the pace picks up. The Aftermath (Part IV) introduces many of the complexities of the immigration story. A great read for someone with limited knowledge looking to gain increased perspective.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 09-14-15

Important, angry, beautifully written and read

What did you like best about this story?

A true story written like an angry elegy. Hard to listen to in parts, but that's the point. Urrea wants us to face into the reality. It's true, it really happened, and it's still happening. It is an important story beyond the US-Mexican border also.
Urrea is a novelist and essayist; this is clear throughout this story which is full of facts and analysis but presented with a storyteller's skill. The book won several awards and shortlisted for the Pulitzer. I will seek out Urrea's other novels now.