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The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (California Series in Public Anthropology) Paperback – October 23, 2015
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"The Land of Open Graves is an invaluable book, one full of rich ethnographic accounts of migrants, sharp analysis, and beautiful photographs by Michael Wells (as well as some by the migrants De León encounters). It is a strong indictment of the violence migrants face, particularly of a structural sort, and it calls us to "better understand how our worlds are intertwined and the ethical responsibility we have to one another as human beings." It deserves a broad audience."--NACLA Report on the Americas
From the Inside Flap
"Jason De León has written a remarkable book. I know of no other ethnography of life and death on the borderlands that is more moving, theoretically ambitious, or powerful than this eagerly awaited work." --María Elena García, author of Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Education, and Multicultural Development in Peru
"This book sears itself into your memory. You literally can't put it down." --Stanley Brandes, Robert H. Lowie Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
"An impressive piece of scholarship, The Land of Open Graves is a brilliant and important book that humanizes the realities of life and death on the migrant trail in southern Arizona."--Randall H. McGuire, author of Archaeology as Political Action
"Jason De León has written that rare and precious book--a masterful deployment of tools from across the broad spectrum of anthropology." --Danny Hoffman, author of The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia
"The Land of Open Graves is a politically, theoretically, and morally important book that mobilizes the four fields of anthropology to demonstrate beyond a doubt how current US border defense policy results in deliberate death. Beautifully written and engaging, it is a must-read for the general public and students across the social sciences." --Lynn Stephen, author of Transborder Lives: Indigenous Oaxacans in Mexico, California, and Oregon and We Are the Face of Oaxaca: Testimony and Social Movements
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The book leaves plenty of questions open about immigration, politics, and capitalism, but it hopefully provides critical ethnographic context for how we ought to collectively think about these topics coming into the 21st century - particularly the role of anthropology in helping to build our shared human and non-human futures.
De Leon's book is powerful. It discusses the use of landscape as systematic violence by the United States' Federal Government against border-crossers. De Leon uses all four sub-fields of anthropology to research and address the experiences of the people who are crossing before, during, and after travel (for themselves and their families) and uses his findings and the stories of people (in their own words) to engage in the important conversation of immigration and violence in the U.S. against non-citizens, and how the U.S. wages a war against non-citizens on U.S. soil without the US public being aware (and with the inner-gov't being mentally removed from the process, despite being in power to design immigration policy).
Highly recommended for anyone and everyone to read. It is extremely thoughtful and accessible. For those who teach anthropology, particularly applied or political anthropology, should include this as mandatory reading in your curriculum.