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Publisher's Summary

"A beautiful, fiercely honest, and nevertheless deeply empathetic look at those who police the border and the migrants who risk - and lose - their lives crossing it. In a time of often ill-informed or downright deceitful political rhetoric, this book is an invaluable corrective." (Phil Klay)

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood. His mother, a second-generation Mexican American, raised him in Arizona's desert scrublands and the national parks where she worked as a ranger, driven to protect the places she loved. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. Stationed at the remote crossroads of a drug route and a smuggling corridor, he learns how to track other humans under the punishing glare of the sun and through dark, frigid nights. He detains the exhausted, the parched, huddled children yearning for their families. He hauls in the bodies from where they have fallen.

Plagued by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when a friend, a regular at the café where he now works, travels back to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantu discovers that the border and its stories have migrated with him. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a Riverbrings home to us the destruction that US policy inflicts on countless migrants' lives, and the violence it wreaks on the humanity of us all.

©2018 Francisco Cantú (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Cantú's story, and intelligent and humane perspective, should mortify anyone who ever thought building a wall might improve our lot. He advocates for clarity and compassion in place of xenophobia and uninformed rhetoric. His words are emotionally true and his literary sensibility uplifting." (Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men )
"This book tells the hard poetry of the desert heart. If you think you know about immigration and the border, you will see there is much to learn. And you will be moved by its unexpected music." (Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such a powerful message

I don't know what the answers are, but this book begs for answers for this painful, angry subject. more people in power need to see these people as people, not things to be dealt with.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A necessary read, I am thankful for

Where do I start?
Every minute of this audio book was powerful.

It is a raw, honest, and heartfelt view of the boarder. It is so eye opening and highlights the humanitarian crisis that happens daily.

I am in tears, of joy and hope.

I am happy people like Francisco exist and share there powerful story.

He put a name, a familiar story to people that cross our boarders.

These stories matter, their names matter.

They are all of us, we are all connected and this book will wake you up and make you realize that.

So thankful I heard him on NPR and found this book.

I am making everyone I know read it. Listen to it .

It is necessary!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed it. Glimpse of the humanitarian crisis that has overrun the U.S.-Mexico border narrated from two main points of view - that of the US border patrol and that of the illegal migrant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Vista a dos mundos

A well written book that is a must read for dreamers, and really anyone who in not Native American, because we all came from somewhere else. This book is only a small glimpse at a very complex and complicated problem. Immigration. Our elected government must not continue to ignore this problem as it grows with the passage of time. Thank you Mr.Cantu for sharing your experience, for choosing to remain a member of a human race with a heart and a conscience and to your mother for raising the man you have become. Gracias

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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found it very interesting

What did you love best about The Line Becomes a River?

I appreciated and enjoyed the inclusion of border history/formation with his modern day story. thanks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill S.
  • reston, va United States
  • 09-07-18

Boring

Repetitive slow. Just a detailed bio of an interesting life but told in a tedious way.

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great book.

i really enjoyed the insight to the life if a border agent. so many things i didnt know and it also provided insight to the struggles of illegal immigrants crossing the border.

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Honest

Unfortunately the author is not as good of a narrator as he is a writer. His monotone was a little hard to take, especially when you’ve become accustomed to Audible’s great narrators. I know this book took a lot of flack from both sides of the immigration debate. I don’t agree with everything the author did, but I liked the balance he provided. I appreciated the fact he was honest even about things he regrets. He talked about being a border patrol agent, how you’re trained and what you see. And he talked about a friendship with an illegal immigrant that was deported and how he was personally touched by what happened. I disagree with the long road to legal citizenship. I disagree with separating families. I’m pro immigration. But I also believe it’s important to see things in a balanced way. And I appreciated the effort of the author to do so.

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didn't finish

the story was good but i didn't finish due to took much swearing. it's a very interesting topic though that we should all learn more about.

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A Very Human Story<br />

Every person that lives in the borders of the U.S. needs to hear this book!