Border Odyssey: Travels along the U.S./Mexico Divide

Hardcover | April 15, 2015

byCharles D., Jr. Thompson

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.We were trying to change the vision and the conversation about border fears..

Border Odyssey takes us on a drive toward understanding the U.S./Mexico divide: all 1,969 miles—from Boca Chica to Tijuana—pressing on with the useful fiction of a map.

.We needed to go to the place where countless innocent people had been kicked, cussed, spit on, arrested, detained, trafficked, and killed. It would become clear that the border, la frontera, was more multifaceted and profound than anything we could have invented about it from afar..

Along the journey, five centuries of cultural history (indigenous, French, Spanish, Mexican, African American, colonist, and U.S.), wars, and legislation unfold. And through observation, conversation, and meditation, Border Odyssey scopes the stories of the people and towns on both sides.

.Stories are the opposite of walls: they demand release, retelling, showing, connecting, each image chipping away at boundaries. Walls are full stops. But stories are like commas, always making possible the next clause..

Among the terrain traversed: walls and more walls, unexpected roadblocks and patrol officers; a golf course (you could drive a ball across the border); a Civil War battlefield (you could camp there); the southernmost plantation in the United States; a hand-drawn ferry, a road-runner tracked desert, and a breathtaking national park; barbed wire, bridges, and a trucking-trade thoroughfare; ghosts with guns; obscured, unmarked, and unpaved roads; a Catholic priest and his dogs, artwork, icons, and political cartoons; a sheriff and a chain-smoking mayor; a Tex-Mex eatery empty of customers and a B&B shuttering its doors; murder-laden newspaper headlines at breakfast; the kindness of the border-crossing underground; and too many elderly, impoverished, ex-U.S. farmworkers, braceros, lined up to have Thompson take their photograph.

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From the Publisher

.We were trying to change the vision and the conversation about border fears..Border Odyssey takes us on a drive toward understanding the U.S./Mexico divide: all 1,969 miles—from Boca Chica to Tijuana—pressing on with the useful fiction of a map..We needed to go to the place where countless innocent people had been kicked, cussed, spit...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.08 inPublished:April 15, 2015Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292756631

ISBN - 13:9780292756632

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Table of Contents

1. Evidence of Things Not Seen2. The Border Etched in Bones3. Traveling the Valley of the Shadow4. Two Kinds of Flight5. Of Roads, Fences, and Neighbors6. Boca Chica Sunset7. The Ghosts of Palmito Ranch8. El Ranchero9. Border Guards10. Brownsville Raids11. Rio Grande Guardians12. Progress?13. World’s Most Honest Man14. Cowboy Priests15. The Hand-Drawn Ferry16. Prohibition Bar17. Border Walker18. The Road to Eagle Pass19. Border Ambassador20. The Last Stay at Del Rio21. Seminole Canyon22. Braceros in Murder City23. Fort Davis and the Buffalo Soldiers24. National Park on the Line25. Pancho Villa and the Pink Store26. Smoke on the Apacheria27. A Grandmother Mourns at the Wall28. Fences and Neighbors29. Ground Zero of the Border Crisis30. Altar and Sacrifice31. Phoenix Rising32. Tohono Sacred Peak and Desert Deaths33. Campesinos Sin Fronteras34. The Wall of Shame and Entrepreneurship35. Graves of Unknown Farmworkers36. Desert View Tower and the X-Men37. Walking Alone through Friendship Park38. As If It Were Not ThereAcknowledgmentsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

.We were trying to change the vision and the conversation about border fears..Border Odyssey takes us on a drive toward understanding the U.S./Mexico divide: all 1,969 miles—from Boca Chica to Tijuana—pressing on with the useful fiction of a map..We needed to go to the place where countless innocent people had been kicked, cussed, spit on, arrested, detained, trafficked, and killed. It would become clear that the border, la frontera, was more multifaceted and profound than anything we could have invented about it from afar..Along the journey, five centuries of cultural history (indigenous, French, Spanish, Mexican, African American, colonist, and U.S.), wars, and legislation unfold. And through observation, conversation, and meditation, Border Odyssey scopes the stories of the people and towns on both sides..Stories are the opposite of walls: they demand release, retelling, showing, connecting, each image chipping away at boundaries. Walls are full stops. But stories are like commas, always making possible the next clause..Among the terrain traversed: walls and more walls, unexpected roadblocks and patrol officers; a golf course (you could drive a ball across the border); a Civil War battlefield (you could camp there); the southernmost plantation in the United States; a hand-drawn ferry, a road-runner tracked desert, and a breathtaking national park; barbed wire, bridges, and a trucking-trade thoroughfare; ghosts with guns; obscured, unmarked, and unpaved roads; a Catholic priest and his dogs, artwork, icons, and political cartoons; a sheriff and a chain-smoking mayor; a Tex-Mex eatery empty of customers and a B&B shuttering its doors; murder-laden newspaper headlines at breakfast; the kindness of the border-crossing underground; and too many elderly, impoverished, ex-U.S. farmworkers, braceros, lined up to have Thompson take their photograph..Breathes life into contemporary debates on immigration that often flatten the human implications of national policy by letting us hear from those whose voices may not otherwise be heard, and so allowing us to better understand this complex contact zone that cannot be contained by a wall of any size.. - Louis G. Mendoza, author of A Journey Around Our America