Customer Reviews for

The Devil's Highway: A True Story

Average Rating 3.5
( 36 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Painfully Humorous, convicting and applicable - every American should read this!

Urrea's horrendous telling of the hardships of the Devil's Highway--the route in the desert of Southern Arizona which Hispanic illegals must take to get in to the United States--portrays all sides of the story: the border patrol's, the illegals', and that of US citizens...
Urrea's horrendous telling of the hardships of the Devil's Highway--the route in the desert of Southern Arizona which Hispanic illegals must take to get in to the United States--portrays all sides of the story: the border patrol's, the illegals', and that of US citizens. He specifically writes about the story of a group of 26 men who tried to sneak into Los Estados Unidos under the "coyote" (leader) Jesus Lopez Ramos, telling of their downhill struggle from which only 12 returned, and those barely alive, so dehydrated they were almost mummified, vomiting blood and sick from drinking their own urine. In a direct, morbidly fascinating style that hits home with the reader's sense of justice and sympathy, he animatedly tells the story of individuals who are just trying to make a better future for themselves and their families, while still making it fair to the border patrol. It is a convicting work likely to leave the reader with dramatic reforms in opinion of "illegal aliens." The style in which it is written is painfully humorous and easy to relate with. It is also obviously well-researched and very unique. My only dislike would be that sometimes it is so direct it becomes too uncomfortable to read for long stretches at a time! It slams things into perspective like nothing I've ever read, except maybe John Grisham. Five stars: if you want something interesting, absorbing, and very moving, this is the book for you. I have not read any of Urrea's other works, such as Across the Wire (winner of the Christopher award) or By the Lake of Sleeping Children, but will definetely look into them in the future. Many of my favorite fiction works pale compared to this. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

posted by Hrsrdr on November 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

Literary Excrement

Absolute garbage. The writing is above average at best, and the book is written with the goal of it being left wing propeganda. The book is designed to elicit an emotional response from Americans and make us feel like we should allow anyone who comes knocking on our doo...
Absolute garbage. The writing is above average at best, and the book is written with the goal of it being left wing propeganda. The book is designed to elicit an emotional response from Americans and make us feel like we should allow anyone who comes knocking on our door into our country and make them citizens. Don't bother buying this one. If you already bought it, consider using it as toilet paper if you ever run out.

posted by Anonymous on October 30, 2006

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  • Posted December 12, 2012

    The Devil's Highway is based on a true story about Yuma 14, wr



    The Devil's Highway is based on a true story about Yuma 14, written by Luis Alberto Urrea. Yuma 14 was a tragic event that left fourteen(out of a group of twenty-six) illegal immigrants dead trying to cross the Arizona Desert. To some people living in Veracruz and in other parts of Mexico, it just isn't enough. Most can't afford modern appliances like TV. Some can't even afford an education. To them the United States seems like the place to live. Getting into the United States from Mexico isn't easy and some hire smugglers to get them across. These smugglers can get you into the United States by buses and elabroate schemes, but that costs more. To most that isn't an option, so they hire Coyotes, or guides, to help them walk their way through the rough terrains and the Arizona Desert. 26 people embarked on the same journey through the unforgiving landscape but only 12 survived after being ditched by their guide.
    Urrea does a fantastic job describing the Border Patrol and the politics floating around illegal immigration. He says from the Mexicans' point of view their seen as some kind of fearsome but respectful cowboys. Sure when the patrol find some walkers they'll give them water and maybe even joke around but their still under arrest. He also talks about steriotypes, how some started, why they exist. The first half of the book was very factual and slow going. It was very hard to keep up with the diffrent nicknames, sectors, and the individuals. Somewhere in the book it eventualy got into the actual story of Yuma 14. From their it was still very slow. It had some very exciting moments, like a father losing his son, but I just couldn't connect. The story it self was very good, Being smuggled into the US then getting ditched by your guide in the harsh arizona desert. The book also showed human nature at its best and worst.
    i would only suggest this book to people who actualy knows a bit about the US Mexico border. The story is great. It is just very slow going, and factual. If you already know a bit about the border it might be easier to read, then i say go for it cause it is a good book.

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  • Posted June 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This Highway is Okay

    This book about illegal immigration and the United States and Mexico is okay; but not great. The author researched the topic well; however, after a while, I got the point of the book and I didn't wish to read anymore. But, I did finish it because it was a book picked for our book club. I think that the author isn't as objective as he should have been. This book is interesting; but I wouldn't recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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