The Line Becomes A River

The Line Becomes A River

Dispatches From the Border

Large Print - 2018
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"Cantú the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2018
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781432852320
Branch Call Number: LT 363.28 CAN
Characteristics: 327 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


From the critics

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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.

DPL_Graham Dec 13, 2018

Francisco Cantu’s debut non-fiction book / biography is split into three distinct section. We first see him as bright-eyed student eager to learn more about immigration policy and reform through hands-on experience. We then follow his career as border agent (La Migra) as he stops drug dealers, attempts to track immigrants, shows compassion, and recovers dead bodies. His third act lets him see the border from the side of the immigrants when a close friend goes back to help his mother and isn’t allowed back into the country despite having lived in the USA for over 30 years.

Cantu’s experienced and atmospheric storytelling bring the struggle on our southern border into sharp relief and you can feel his empathy for everyone involved. Still, his time with La Migra leave Cantu with the deep psychological scars. Can you fight in a war against masses of humanity and retain your own humanity? Cantu’s often leaves details to the imagination and sometimes has sections that I didn’t understand the purpose of but taken as a whole the book provided me with important information and knowledge of the day-to-day reality of the border.

**The Line Becomes a River is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Shortlist Winner

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