‘The Devil’s Highway’ written by Luis Alberto Urrea is a true story and is described in such a way that the reader feels the pain these men must have gone through. The story is the description of the journey of those 26 Mexican that had crossed the US-Mexican border illegally through the deadly Arizona desert on May 19, 2001, out of which only 12 came out. The author describes the journey that is in actual horrifying and hazardous and puts human faces to them so that people can deeply understand the dilemma of the journey.
This book also puts emphasis on the intension of the smugglers who in want of more and more money push these innocent and needy people into the mouth of danger. At the same time Urrea also scrutinizes the politics and practices at the border and call it “the politics of stupidity”. Poor people of Mexico take the short cut route for US and Urrea explains it, As long as there have been people, there have been deaths in the western desert. When the Devil’s highway was a faint scratch of desert bighorn hoof marks, and the first unters ran along it, someone died.
But the brown and red men who ran the paths left no record outside of faded songs and rock paintings we still don’t understand. Urrea’s description of the hazards of the journey through the Devil’s Highway is terrifying, powerful and illuminating for the readers. Along with the journey of those 26 men, Urrea also describes the history of the region and the skills of tracking of Border Patrol, the hopes and earnest desire of these immigrants that lead them to the center of eath that is towards Arizona desert.
Urrea describes the stages of death, The desert’s air, like you, is thirsty … sucking up your sweat as fast as you can pump it, so fast that you don’t even know you are sweating. … Your spit turns to paste. Your mouth tastes nasty. … You dream of pools, seas, you dream of a lake and you dream of drinking the whole thing dry as you soak. While considering Limerick’s style of writing and description of the ‘Modoc war’ it seems she breaks the traditional rules of academic writing.
She writes about the history of American west and each and every description deserves attention of the reader. She writes about the events clearly and in a narrative way so that readers finds wit, humor as well as serious honesty in the depictions. She is a historian who writes with compassion and great deal of charm. She treats the subject lively, revealing, provocative and of course never forgets its originality. Both the writers, Limerick and Urrea are an expert in writing skill and have done complete justice to the subject.
Both of them do not forget to mention even the small things and there are some light moments along with such serious topic as the deadly journey through Arizona desert and the Modoc war. After reading the books the reader is forced to think about the actual facts and the real picture comes in front of their eyes. In both the book it seems that the authors travel themselves through the dilemma of the journey. The only difference in the writing of both the writers is that Limerick seems to be more witty and critical as compared to Urrea.
Courtney from Study Moose
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