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Cutting for Sign

Overview

With the demise of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, there remains no more potent--or notorious--political border than the 1,951-mile division between the US and Mexico. Langewiesche shows us how a simple line--a legalism across the land--is also a mirror that reflects our ideals and fears.
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Overview

With the demise of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, there remains no more potent--or notorious--political border than the 1,951-mile division between the US and Mexico. Langewiesche shows us how a simple line--a legalism across the land--is also a mirror that reflects our ideals and fears.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Combining trenchant observations with an understated style, Langewiesche, a correspondent for the Atlantic , limns people and places on the troubled U.S.-Mexico border. Traveling from affluent San Diego, Calif., to poverty-ridden Brownsville, Tex., the author zig-zags across the frontier, describing border guards and human rights monitors, maquila managers (business technicians) and labor organizers and the frustration and foreboding among them all. In the ranching town of Marfa, Tex., he describes the long-running power struggle between Anglos and Mexicans and the position of an outsider, famed sculptor Donald Judd, who has established a nonprofit foundation and provides medical benefits for Mexican laborers: the ranchers consider him a subversive; the Mexicans call him a fool. In Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Langewiesche finds ``one tough border town,'' corrupted by drugs. The book's title comes from customs agents who ``cut for sign,'' looking for evidence (a tire track, a footprint) of illegal entry. They may be skilled, but, as the author observes: ``There are 400 million crossings of the border every year, and the future belongs to free trade.'' The border, he concludes, is a ``word game'' and ``more intricate than a simple boundary line.'' Mexico's problems, he notes, have become ours. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Langewiesche has lived and worked near the U.S.-Mexico border and wrote an extensive piece on the topic for the Atlantic in 1992. This book expands on his experiences in cities such as San Diego, Tijuana, Nogales, Mexicali, and El Paso, as well as in rural areas. He meets ranchers, farmers, Border Patrol agents, civil rights activists, artists, and many others from both countries. He also provides some historical background on relations between the United States and Mexico, from the Mexican Revolution to the drug trade. Although a less intimate account than Luis Urrea's Across the Wire ( LJ 1/93), this well-written volume is a thoughful introduction to the complex people and issues of the borderlands. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/93.-- Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679759638
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/30/1995
  • Series: Vintage Departures Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,407,201
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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