Synopses & Reviews
In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, a place called the Devil's Highway. Twenty-six people fathers and sons, brothers and strangers entered a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it. For hundreds of years, men have tried to conquer this land, and for hundreds of years the desert has stolen their souls and swallowed their blood.
Along the Devil's Highway, days are so hot that dead bodies naturally mummify almost immediately. And that May, twenty-six men went in.
Twelve came back out.
Now, Luis Alberto Urrea tells the story of this modern Odyssey. He takes us back to the small towns and unpaved cities south of the border, where the poor fall prey to dreams of a better life and the sinister promises of smugglers. We meet the men who will decide to make the crossing along the Devil's Highway and, on the other side of the border, the men who are ready to prevent them from reaching their destination. Urrea reveals exactly what happened when the twenty-six headed into the wasteland, and how they were brutally betrayed by the one man they had trusted most. And from that betrayal comes the Inferno, a descent into a world of cactus spines, labyrinths of sand, mountains shaped like the teeth of a shark, and a screaming sun so intense that even at midnight the temperature had only dropped to 97 degrees. And yet, the men would not give up. The Devil's Highway is a story of astonishing courage and strength, of an epic battle of men against circumstance. These twenty-six men would look the Devil in the eyes and some of them would not blink.
Spectacularly written, The Devil's Highway is the great leap forward for one of America's finest writers, a trip to hell and back that is not only an astonishing piece of investigative reporting but also a literary tour de force.
"A horrendous story told with bitter skill, highlighting the whole sordid, greedy mess that attends illegal broader crossings." Kirkus Reviews
"Urrea...is keenly attuned to such eloquent and awful ironies and uses them to punctuate the The Devil's Highway, a painstaking, unsentimental and oddly lyrical chronology of the traveling party's horrific trek through the Sonora." Washington Post
"The imaginative license Urrea takes...produces a powerful, almost diabolical impression of the disaster and the exploitative conditions at the border. Urrea shows immigration policy on the human level." Booklist
The author of Across the Wire offers brilliant investigative reporting of what went wrong when, in May 2001, a group of 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona. Only 12 men came back out. Superb . . . Nothing less than a saga on the scale of the Exodus and an ordeal as heartbreaking as the Passion . . . The book comes vividly alive with a richness of language and a mastery of narrative detail that only the most gifted of writers are able to achieve.--Los Angeles Times Book Review.
In a new 10th anniversary edition: "The single most compelling, lucid, and lyrical contemporary account of the absurdity of U.S. border policy" (The Atlantic).
In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national bestseller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern American classic.
About the Author
Urrea is the recipient of an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award, and a Colorado Book Award, and he has been inducted into the Latino Literary Hall of Fame.