From School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Ten years ago Julio CÃ©sar Gallegos, one of countless immigrants, attempted to reunite with his family in Los Angeles and died of dehydration while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in California's Imperial Valley. In Dying to Live, Nevins not only tells Gallegos's story, but also presents the geographic, historical, and political context of the U.S-Mexico border. Gallegos's motivations, struggles, and sacrifices serve as examples throughout the book of both past and present social stratification, political hypocrisy, and "global apartheid." Including photographs and maps, the book details the history, policies, and economics that have driven and prevented Mexican migration to the United States. The social and economic links between the two countries are described, primarily in relation to the agricultural industry in the border states. The strength of this book lies in the wealth of research and information presented on the history and politics of the border regions of Mexico and California. Teens will not only find the author's information valuable, but will also revel in the sources presented in the bibliography. However, researchers looking for insight into migration through Mexico from other Latin American countries will not find much information in this title. The scholarly tone and depth of the material make this book best suited for advanced readers and researchers.—Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD
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"'Dying to Live' is a compelling, perceptive and invaluable book for our times." -- Susan Straight, author of "Highwire Moon"
See all Editorial Reviews
"...a fierce and courageous denunciation of the foul politics of immigration..." -- Richard Walker, professor of geography, UC Berkeley
"An important, visually moving book that adds to our knowledge of the border and its place in history." -- David Bacon, author "Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration"
"Invisible in life, like most exploited immigrants, Julio Cesar Gallegos now judges us from the hour of his terrible death." -- Mike Davis is the author, most recently, of "Planet of Slums" and "In Praise of Barbarians"
"Nevins blows the red-neck cover off the right wing engineered scapegoating of 'illegal' immigrants." -- Deepa Fernandes, author of "Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration"
"Nevins writes a compelling indictment of this nation's immigration policy directed toward Mexico . . . thoughtful and elucidating exploration of this multifaceted problem." -- Booklist
"...packs a many-sided, moving, and uncompromising account of the development of U.S. immigration and its associated politics into a short and readable book." --International Socialist Review
"...a deftly written treatise on immigration, a must to those who want to further understand the subject." --Midwest Book Review
"Dying to Live is an invaluable book--one which is as contextual as it is analytical, as factual as it is moving. . . . In a compelling, accessible story, Josehph Nevins guides his readers through the complexities and intricacies of immigration, boundary-making, and their human affects and realities . . . with a Howard Zinn-like attention to historical detail, Nevins provides a comprehensive accounting of the actors, circumstances, and dynamics that culminated to create the current situation at the United States' southern border, specifically focusing on the Imperial Valley region of California." --Fellowship Magazine, Fall 2008
"Dying to Live is a journey into the historically evolved and still evolving meanings and effects of the US-Mexico boundary.Through his analysis, that moves from the early nineteenth century to the present (pp.75-121), Nevins shows the shift in the ideological and material weight of the boundary from a line on a map to a set of practices of inclusion and exclusion. . . Anyone interested especially in migration in the US-Mexican region, or more generally in the effects borders bear in people's lives, should take a look at Nevins's story." --Eeva Puumala, Cooperation and Conflict
"Dying to Live combines prodigious research, passionate argument, and masterful storytelling to describe the complicated landscape of U.S. immigration policies. . . Photographs by Mizue Aizeki appear throughout the book and add an element of human empathy that Nevins tries to cultivate in geography through story and argument. Dying to Live expands minds, ideas of borders, and notions of geography. . . Add Nevins book to your essential reading list." --Jillian McLaughlin, The Kosmopolitan Online
"[Nevins'] careful and well-written documentation of the historical and social antecedents of immigrant deaths on the desert conveys how absurd United States's politics of immigration and exclusion play out. By focusing first on geography - specifically the U.S.Mexico boundary and all that it implies in political and sociological terms - Nevins produces an ongoing accumulation of the prejudice and abuse that culminated in Gallegos' - and hundreds of other immigrants' - deaths. . . In spite of its title, Dying To Live is no tearjerker. Although Nevins makes no attempt to conceal where his sympathies lie, and pointedly criticizes U.S. policies and aggression, he focuses on facts, quotes, descriptions. And although one feels an immense sympathy for Gallegos and his American-born wife and children, the book engenders outrage, not tears." --New Politics
"Joseph Nevins's Dying to Live weaves the struggle of one family into the history of U.S. racism, global economic inequality, and 'nationalization' to provide a forceful indictment of global apartheid. Dying to Live is a hard-hitting book that should be read as a call to action. It breaks the silence surrounding migrant deaths at the hands of the power elite. Interspersed throughout the book are equally powerful photographs by Mizue Aizeki." --Gilda L. Ochoa, Latin American Perspectives
". . . a powerful, multifaceted study of Mexican and Central American migration to the US that combines historical analysis with a graphic narrative account of the economic and social factors that perpetuate it. . . . [Nevins] reminds us why we must tear down these artificial and illegitimate boundaries and allow migrants to find the same dream of a better life that so many Americans have had the privilege to live." --Gavin O'Toole, The Latin American Review of Books
"Dying to Live is a powerful examination of the messy politics and human consequences of US immigration policies. Joseph Nevins skillfully weaves the personal story of Julio César Gallegos, a migrant who died attempting to cross the US-Mexico boundary, together with detailed historical research to explore the boundary's ideological construction, the USA's `race-class-nation hierarchy', and the role of law in shaping Americans' geographical imagination." --Nancy Hiemstra, Progress in Human Geography
"Nevins's book, thanks to excellent research and a nuanced application of theory, demonstrates not only professional excellence but also an ongoing commitment to justice and human rights. By calling the entire notion of a 'right to be here' into question, Dying to Live serves as a powerful antidote to nationalistic amnesia on the part of the U.S. public, which has been too willing to embrace a shortsighted version of U.S.-Mexican history. By analyzing enforcement in the space of the border, he has provided an extension of the concept of structural violence. Those of us living in border states, especially Arizona, owe Nevins our appreciation. He shows how one can analyze policy information in a way that clearly communicates how common racial constructions support and extend the state's use of violence." --North American Congress on Latin America