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Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration Paperback – October 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1570757983 ISBN-10: 1570757984

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570757984
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570757983
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For more information on Dr. De La Torre, visit his website at:

Miguel A. De La Torre (born October 6, 1958) is an associate-professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology, a religious scholar, author, and an ordained minister. Born in Cuba months before the Castro Revolution, De La Torre and his family migrated to the United States as refugees when he was an infant. At nineteen years of age he began a real estate company in Miami. De La Torre dissolved the thirteen-year-old real estate company in 1992 to attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Masters in Divinity and enter the ministry. During his seminary training he served as pastor at a rural congregation.

De La Torre continued his theological training and obtained a doctorate from Temple University in social ethics in 1999. According to the books he published, he focuses on ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. His works 1) applys a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within this country; 2) studies Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America (specifically in Cuba); and 3) engages in postmodern/postcolonial social theory. In 1999 he was hired to teach Christian Ethics at Hope College in Holland, MI. De La Torre resigned his tenure in 2005 and took the position of associate professor for social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.

Since obtaining his doctorate, De La Torre has authored numerous articles and books, including several books that have won national awards, specifically: Reading the Bible from the Margins, (Orbis, 2002); Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004); and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, (Orbis, 2004). He has been an expert commentator concerning ethical issues (mainly Hispanic religiosity, LGBT civil rights, and immigration rights) on several local, national, and international media outlets.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sean Mckenzie on January 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Everyone who cares about social justice has to read this book. With Trails of Hope and Terror, Miguel De La Torre has written the definitive book on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. It is a heartbreaking call to action on behalf of those who are literally and legally shunned by the United States of America. Normally, the undocumented cannot speak for themselves, but De La Torre uses the technique of testimonials to give flesh and blood to his advocacy.

The testimonials force us to answer the following question: what would we do if we couldn't feed our children without breaking the law? When NAFTA throws farmers off their land, and maquilodores on the border fail to provide living, steady wages, so many migrants seem to have no choice but to head north. De La Torre describes the migrants as heroes because they literally climb mountains and cross rivers and deserts for their families. Their treks invariably lead to pain, heartache, and often death. The picture of fourteen year old Josseline Hernandez, whose body was recently found in the desert, haunts the reader. So do the the plaintive stories, songs, and poetry of the migrants themselves.

Although Trails of Hope and Terror is a relatively short book, it is packed with information relevant to the immigration debate. It shows how NAFTA pushed nearly two million Mexican farmers off their land and towards the United States when they could not compete with subsidized American farmers. According to De La Torre and his testimonials, the tightened border of Operation Gatekeeper has only exacerbated the problem. Migrants still make it into the United States, but on a much more deadly path. Because the trip in is so difficult, nobody leaves anymore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Glen Peterson on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The telling of the stories from personal interviews is relentless. The narrative of this book grows out of conversations with people in desperate situations on the trails of immigration in the Mexican town of Altar, 60 miles south of the border, and in the Arizona desert that migrants cross against perilous odds. Story after story is translated and told from the perspective of immigrants, church workers, theologians, students, family members and those looking for work and a better life. Chapters include topics on borders, economics, myths, families, politics of fear, perspectives, and ethical responses. There is a poem, a prayer or a song in each chapter. The use of testimonies allows the discourse on immigration to come alive (to be incarnated) for the reader. For some in the United States this might be a debate about defending borders and keeping some faceless unknowns at safe distances. These testimonies give them humanity. This is the story of justice and mercy and is connected to real people who risk their lives to feed their children. It is about people whose livelihoods are destroyed by global economic forces beyond their capacity to change them.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration offers a constructive conversation on immigration in seven sections that take an immigration issue (economics, borders, family values) and included stories by undocumented migrants and those who work with them. Each chapter concludes with a poem or inspirational piece. A fine addition for any library strong in immigration history.
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