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The Devil's Highway: A True Story Paperback – September 19, 2005
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More About the Author
Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea has published extensively in all the major genres. The critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. The Devil's Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. An historical novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter tells the story of Teresa Urrea, sometimes known as the Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc. The book, which involved 20 years of research and writing, won the Kiriyama Prize in fiction and, along with The Devil's Highway, was named a best book of the year by many publications. It has been optioned by acclaimed Mexican director Luis Mandoki for a film to star Antonio Banderas.
Urrea's most recent novel, Into the Beautiful North, imagines a small town in Mexico where all the men have immigrated to the U.S. A group of young women, after seeing the film The Magnificent Seven, decide to follow the men North and persuade them to return to their beloved village. A national best-seller, Into the Beautiful North, earned a citation of excellence from the American Library Association Rainbow's Project. A short story from Urrea's collection, Six Kinds of Sky, was recently released as a stunning graphic novel by Cinco Puntos Press. Mr.Mendoza's Paintbrush, illustrated by artist Christopher Cardinale, has already garnered rave reviews and serves as a perfect companion to Into the Beautiful North as it depicts the same village in the novel.
Into the Beautiful North, The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter have been chosen by more than 30 different cities and colleges for One Book community read programs.
Urrea has also won an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for best short story (2009, "Amapola" in Phoenix Noir). His first book, Across the Wire, was named a New York Times Notable Book and won the Christopher Award. Urrea also won a 1999 American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life and in 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame following the publication of Vatos. His book of short stories, Six Kinds of Sky, was named the 2002 small-press Book of the Year in fiction by the editors of ForeWord magazine. He has also won a Western States Book Award in poetry for The Fever of Being and was in The 1996 Best American Poetry collection. Urrea's other titles include By the Lake of Sleeping Children, In Search of Snow, Ghost Sickness and Wandering Time.
Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for several publications, Urrea moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He has also taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College and the University of Colorado and he was the writer in residence at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Top Customer Reviews
The author describes the conditions and historic events that lead to the beginning of the illegal immigration into the US and draws a clear parallelism with our times, when there are several tasks in the US that Americans are reluctant to do, thus illegal immigrants are needed for this. When price changes in international markets adversely affected the Mexican economy and overpopulation became a problem, some Mexicans decided to come to the US. They ended up with a comfortable life, so when others found out, a growing interest in crossing the border developed.
Organizations of coyotes were formed to provide supply for the growing demand, and the poor people seeking a better future became just a means to an end. These individuals in their attempts have to fight against the heat of the desert, thirst, exhaustion, "la migra" (Border Patrol) and the coyotes themselves. On top of this, the control at the border has intensified throughout the last years, so the groups seeking a new future have to go through more dangerous paths each time. In the case of the twenty-six Mexicans that are the center of this story, the point of entry was the Devil's Highway, a deadly desert in Arizona that has claimed numerous victims through the years.Read more ›
But even with a slightly padded feel to it, it's the last twenty or so pages of the "Devil's Highway" that deliver the goods. Urrea could easily expand on those twenty pages and write a new book the current state of things Mexican - and American.Read more ›
Urrea uses this one situation, which as picked up by the media, and sensationalized, as a representation of a larger story. In this same year, a total of 417 died attempting unauthorized border crossings, and those are only the ones who were found. The walkers from Mexico are in a desperate search for a better life for them and their families, while the border patrol is trying to fulfill the law, attempting the capture the illegals as they enter the country, though also concerned for their safety.
The issue of immigration enforcement, and border policy is very complicated. Reading this gave me a great picture of what is going on there, and how many sides to the story there are. There are many positive changes taking place, but the US has a long way to go to find the best solution. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about border policy and the stories behind the walkers attempting to cross to a better life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a tragic depiction of very brave individuals who risk their lives to provide hope to their families and improve their lives and status. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Bert
Great book. However you feel about border issues won't take away from your enjoyment of this true story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MONTMAN9500
The Devil’s Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea, is an engulfing novel that really highlights the seemingly insurmountable struggles immigrants have to overcome when traveling from... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ali
Amazing story of a journey into the US, heartbreaking and empowering.Published 2 months ago by Splammo
I found the writing and the subject matter to be fascinating. It kept my eyes glued to the page and I couldn't wait to get back to it whenever I set it down. Very well done. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James M. Robinson