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Publisher's Summary

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.

©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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

5 of 5 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review 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.

3 of 3 people found this review 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."

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Amazing read!

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kyle
  • Bisbee, AZ, United States
  • 11-23-11

Truly fantastic!

I am using this book in a chicana/o literature program and it is by far my favorite book on the list. The author does a great job of narrating the story. This book is incredibly important, very well written, and a great listen. In spite of dealing with a horrible event, an event that is rendered with such a visceral realism that you feel you are dying in the dessert, it is still a well told, often funny, narrative. The story encompasses the complete experience of this boarder event and the people it involves. In fact, the empathy of the author for all who become involved is phenomenal. You get to know everyone in a very firsthand way: the boarder patrol, the immigrants, and the coyote. It is such an accomplishment.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • RCC
  • ACTON MA USA
  • 09-18-18

Impossible.

Impossible to know where you are in the story or if the action has started or what. Not what you would call a linear narrative. In other words, hard to follow. Admittedly, I wanted more of a true crime story thats kinda your typical a to b to c type thing. This was richer probably but lacked any kind of visceral impact. Again, hard to follow and hard to know when the action had started or not. Also, the authors narration was affected, precious and annoying. Skip it.

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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.