Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hard Line: Life and Death on the U.S.-Mexico Border Hardcover – June 1, 2004


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$9.71 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

Hard Line: Life and Death on the U.S.-Mexico Border + Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China's Territorial Disputes (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)
Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375422439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375422430
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing upon his experience along the U.S.-Mexico border as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Ellingwood focuses on the effects of Operation Gatekeeper, the 1994 U.S. plan to literally seal off sections of a porous border, which had garnered equal amounts of national attention and political posturing. Like more academic studies, Hard Line concludes that in metropolitan areas such as San Diego, Gatekeeper has largely succeeded in stemming the flow of illegal border crossers. The upshot, however, is that "more rural areas on the border found themselves blindsided" by migrant workers seeking entrance into the U.S. through perilous mountain regions and swaths of scorching desert. What makes Ellingwood's portrayal so remarkable is his ability to examine the border from nearly every conceivable angle. He tells the story of the 1,952-mile line in the dirt through detailed accounts of the activities and perspectives of border agents, church activists, angry ranchers and migrants who narrowly escaped death. He also paints a compelling portrait of members of a Native American tribe divided by a border they didn't create and follows the county coroners charged with collecting and identifying the decomposed remains of migrants who couldn't survive the treacherous terrain. A less adept writer might use these subjects merely to reinforce stereotypes of compassionate liberals, angry conservatives and innocent victims caught in the middle. But Ellingwood transcends ideologies, rendering the border and all who dwell along it with the utmost respect and care. Likewise, he pays careful attention to the historical and economic conditions that tie the two countries together and lure so many to risk their lives for the chance at something better. The result is a complex portrayal of politics, culture and human interaction along this country's most controversial slice of land.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–With an evenhanded, respectful treatment of conflicting interest groups, Ellingwood presents a finely tuned portrait of immigration-based tensions along the 1952 miles that constitute the U.S.-Mexican border. To gain control over the flood of illegal border crossings along the most troublesome corridors, the Clinton administration launched Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, honing in on San Diego and El Paso for increased law enforcement. Even as statistics showed a drop in the number of crossers in those areas, alarming evidence revealed a "moving migrant river" shifting toward Arizona, where climate and landscape set the stage for tragedy. In a headline-generating event in May 2001, 14 people died attempting to trek through the southern Sonoran Desert toward Ajo and a dozen others were saved only by emergency tracking and rescue measures orchestrated by federal agents. The author touches sympathetically on all the pressure points in this complex issue, including the rights of ranchers whose lands are trampled nightly; religiously motivated, compassionate volunteers who work with the Humane Borders organization; Tohono O'Odham tribal members; Border Patrol agents; and the crossers themselves. A thoughtful narrative with corollary value as a platform for discussing the difficulties of border security in a post-9/11 world.–Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chris on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book about an incredibly complicated subject. Ellingwood lets the people on both sides on the border and all sides of the issue tell their stories. I don't think it is possible to be more fair or thorough or compelling in reporting on this topic. The reader that considered this a biased work must be confusing it with another book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Johnson on June 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read by anyone interested in an impartial discussion of the human consequences -- namely the deaths of thousands of migrants -- of the great increase in U.S. border enforcement in the 1990s. Hard Line presents in a readable fashion the perspectives of all the groups directly affected -- from Border Patrol officers to migrants to ranchers in southern Arizona -- by Operation Gatekeeper and the varous other military-style operations designed to reduce illegal immigration from Mexico. Among other things, we learn that the expendiuture of billions of dollars has not resulted in a reduction in immigration but simply directed migrant traffic through dangerous and inclement conditions where many migrants suffer gruesome deaths as a result of the simple pursuit of the American dream.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hartley Bennett on July 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most thorough and unbiased study of the US/Mexico border issues I have read. Ken Ellingwood recreates the history as well as the projections for this controversial problem. He permits readers to view all aspects of the issue and to develop a thoughtful awareness of their own personal opinion based on fact, not conjecture or propaganda.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
Ken Ellingwood provides a balanced account on the hardships faced by immigrants trying to enter illegally into the US though its southern border. The book approaches the topic from several perspectives: the history of immigration through the southern border, the history of the institutions in charge of promoting (and later controlling) immigration, and through the personal stories of migrants, humanitarians, border patrol agents and government officials.

Ellingwood concentrates on the effects that operation Gatekeeper had in shifting the historical patterns of migration: from the urban crossings in California to the high risk environment of the Arizona desert. He describes in detail the impact not only on the migrant's loss of life, but on the economics, politics and even sleep patterns of the communities involved.

This is not an academic analysis of U.S. immigration policy. The author clearly states so himself. It nevertheless reads like a case study of System Dynamics and the unintended consequences of some public policies. Hard Line is investigative journalism at its purest, combining meticulous documentation with the human stories that bring the book alive.

Overall, a must read for anyone interested in understanding more about illegal immigration through the US-Mexico border.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?