THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY: A Good Non-Fiction Read

Non-fiction is not my first love, not my favorite genre in which to read. However, Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway kept me turning pages like any good novel.  It is excellent investigative reporting on the US border policy.  The readability is probably what made this book a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It deals with illegal immigration, specifically from Mexico and South America into Arizona, California, and Texas.

The author tells the story of a 2001 crossing of the desert which contains the area known as “The Devil’s Highway.”  The author expresses his own “outrage tempered with concern.” As one critic explained, Urrea writes with “tragic and beautiful intimacy.” Dealing with hyperthermia and how people die in the desert, the author traces a group walking across and down the Devil’s Highway seeking a better life in America. It is at times, “artful, powerful, and shocking.” It is a border story written by a self-proclaimed border son, a fronteriza.

The lasting impression this book will have on you is that it will haunt you.


Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

9 thoughts on “THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY: A Good Non-Fiction Read”

  1. Good review! This book also has excellent information that sheds lights on how very corrupt the United States’s policies and attitudes are toward those who appear Mexican/Latin American. That’s what I remember most about this book. And, too, how that historically “illegal immigration” is basically just a century old. Even today, there are “illegal immigrants” from countries all over the world, but the only ones who receive attention are those who are from Latin American countries. History and people are always interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for mentioning the additional information, that, indeed, is a very important part of the book. I think because I enjoy novels so much, the fact that this non-fiction book kept my interest with the “story” so well impressed me the most. Yes history, and even current non-fiction, CAN be interesting. I am glad you loaned me the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes… it is becoming an increasingly loaded issue all over the world, it seems to me. It certainly is causing major problems in Europe and the UK, with human traffickers and illegal gangs profiting by the human misery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i got this book years ago when one of the bookstores near me closed down and I cleaned off the shelves. I still haven’t read it yet (too many in line first), but it’s on my “to read” goal list before the year’s out. It’s not that long a book, and it seemed like it’d be chock full of info, so I’m glad I got it. Can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you will get a lot out of it. It really makes one think about immigration in general and the Border Patrol (We hear so much; this is as accurate a picture as we, the public, are going to get.)specifically. Reading non-fiction is new to me, for I read only novels for a long time. I thought it would be wise to read out of my genre, sometimes even out of my comfort zone, to broaden my perspectives. It is working out nicely, but Haven’t abandoned “my” novels, especially debut novels. What kind of books do you lean towards?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read just about everything–nonfiction is my home because I’m constantly learning or wanting to learn. Got a section of my blog dedicated to book and tea. Right now, reading “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” and reviewing it a collection at a time. Still finding my way writing reviews without spoilers or nit-picking too badly. But I’ve got over a thousand books on my shelves and need to either read them instead of just compulsively buy them, so why not review them? Anyhoo, good to know more about The Devil’s Highway. I hadn’t really heard much about it even before buying it.

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