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Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence Paperback – March 30, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1558857520 ISBN-10: 1558857524

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (March 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558857524
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558857520
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From Publishers Weekly:
This eye-opening collection of essays details struggles of Mexican and American citizens affected by drug cartels along the Mexican-American border. Editors Cortez and Troncoso shift between the journalistic and the personal....Oscillating between gruesome and hopeful, the collection "was born of a vision to bear witness to how this violence has shattered life on the border," yet is imbued with optimism....Indeed, these essayists posit that widespread hope for the region begins with the involvement of the individual: "This should be our struggle." (4-15-13)

From Kirkus Reviews:
What has been lost is not a political boundary line between the United States and Mexico, but a 60-mile-wide cultural area above and below that the line; the issues raised by the voices here reflect how and why that border has become a zone of fear, violence and bloody murder....Nightly shootings, kidnappings, robberies and the discovery of mass graves--all these and more have put an end to a once-thriving tourist industry and a rich cultural exchange between those living on either side of the boundary. Where there were once bridges, there are now high walls. (3-20-13)

McAllen Monitor:
Two of the more impactful essays were by the editors themselves. Sarah Cortez, a former law-enforcement officer, powerfully proclaims herself part of a group of individuals 'who stand against the wholesale execution of decent human beings by thugs for illegal gain, sanctioned by a government too weak or too dirty to act.' Sergio Troncoso closes the collection with a poignant sentiment: 'It was a better life than what we have today, and we understand that fact mostly in retrospect, as we often do, when we lose what we value before we had a chance to appreciate what it meant.'

San Antonio-Express News:
"Exceptionally beautiful and poignant writing….This book is essential reading for anyone who cares deeply about the U.S.-Mexico border and the future relations of our two countries."

Literal Magazine: Latin American Voices:
“Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence, a treasure trove of one dozen personal essays, deserves to be celebrated, read, and discussed in every community in North America.”

About the Author

Sarah Cortez is a poet, educator, and law enforcement officer. She is the author of a memoir, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston (Texas Review Press, 2010), and a poetry collection, How to Undress a Cop (Arte Publico Press, 2000), which won the PEN Texas Literary Award in Poetry. She is the editor of Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives (Pinata Books, 2007), winner of a 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award; Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Publico Press, 2009); "You Don't Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens (Pinata Books, 2011) and Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books, 2010). She lives and works in Houston, Texas.

Sergio Troncoso is the author of Crossing Borders: Personal Essays (Arte Publico Press, 2011), From this Wicked Patch of Dust (University of Arizona Press, 2011), The Nature of Truth (Northwestern University Press, 2003) and The Last Tortilla and Other Stories (University of Arizona Press, 1999), which won the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize and the Southwest Book Award. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and two graduate degrees, in international relations and philosophy, from Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico, and was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's Alumni Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute of Letters. A resident faculty member of the Yale Writers' Conference, Troncoso lives and works in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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The personal stories that follow are heartfelt and beautifully written by gifted writers.
Critical Reader
This book, in a collection of essays and stories, tackles what the drug induced violence does to a person, a family, a city, and a nation.
WordyRene
Highly recommended for anyone wishing for more impressions of what is affecting not only Mexico, but the border states of America.
Gordon Rottman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Critical Reader on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The editors for Our Lost Border have assembled an astonishing collection of essays and personal stories each depicting in vivid and masterful prose the recent history of border life between Mexico and the United States.
The first four essays are written in spanish then expertly translated into english giving the personal accounts of border violence stemming from the drug trade an authenticity and realism that is both fascinating and horrifying. The essay of Liliana Blum, The Widest of Borders, gives an amazing historical account of how the drug traffickers gained their power and how the Mexican government has at times conspired with the cartels along with the brutal consequences of when they have attempted to crack down.
The personal stories that follow are heartfelt and beautifully written by gifted writers. I especially enjoyed the memoir styled accounts of Jose Skinner, Sarah Cortez and Sergio Tronscoso.
Our American news media has not told the stories that need telling and this book further exposes the shortcomings of corporate owned television and print journalism. This book is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the future of America, north and south of our borders. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By WordyRene on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was one of the first books that I put down and contemplated not finishing. "Death" is very easy to write and read, but to consider the word when it affects so many especially those who inhabit the border cities and their Mexican counterpart is what makes it so compellingly sad and thought provoking.

I enjoyed that the book was written in English and Spanish because there are certain things that you just cannot translate.

This was probably explained in the book, but there is a symbiotic relationship between the cities along the US-Mexican border and it would be foolish to think that "their" problems are not "our" problems. This book, in a collection of essays and stories, tackles what the drug induced violence does to a person, a family, a city, and a nation. That so many innocent people die everyday while trying to find a better life for their family is what makes this book a must read because no matter our race, our color, our background, we all want to do what's best for our children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Cigarroa on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book and the stories are so sad.

There is a short story written by Cristina Cigarroa who wrote about her Grand mother having to leave her home after having lived there all her life and designed the home with so much love, having lived there with her husband, who by then had passed away, the house and its memories were what she was holding on to.
Every New Years or for that mater, Birthdays, Baptisms, Communions had been celebrated there.

The most poignant night was the New Years held there ,like any other, not having told anyone that it would be their last time to go to their beloved house of parties and happy gatherings, soon after put the house up for sale. Only one other neighbor was left.

Cristina catches the vivacity and joy of their grand mother, captures the scent of her cooking and makes you feel you too are there. This young writer is very gifted as you feel you also experienced what she and her extended family lived with their
grand mother in that very beloved home that now and forever they will treasure in their very special memory box

Thank you, young lady for give us a glimpse and allowing us to share a very poignant story, no, not a story, but something that although sad, you made it positive and I am sure your grand mother will treasure your memories and she will continue
living with the joy she gave you and your families and when she rereads it, everything will be the same it used to be.
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