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Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail
RUBEN MARTINEZ

Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail by Ruben Martinez
68 reviews (2001) (p)
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction Finalist

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Book Description
The U.S.-Mexican border is one of the most permeable boundaries in the world, breached daily by Mexicans in search of work. Thousands die crossing the line and those who reach "the other side" are branded illegals, undocumented and unprotected. Crossing Over puts a human face on the phenomenon, following the exodus of the Chávez clan, an extended Mexican family who lost three sons in a tragic border accident. Martínez follows the migrants' progress from their small southern Mexican town of Cherán to California, Wisconsin, and Missouri where far from joining the melting pot, Martínez argues, the seven million migrants in the U.S. are creating a new culture that will alter both Mexico and the United States as the two countries come increasingly to resemble each other.


Amazon.com Review
Not since Ted Conover's Coyotes has a book revealed the underground culture of illegal immigration from Mexico as well as Crossing Over by Rubén Martínez. This up-and-coming author writes of what he calls "a Mexican Manifest Destiny" that continually pierces the southern borderline of the United States--a "line [that] is still more an idea than a reality." Martínez begins with the awful story of the three Chávez brothers, all killed when a truck carrying them and some two dozen other illegal aliens tried to outrace border patrol agents and flipped. Martínez learns of their fate and travels to their peasant hometown in southern Mexico to distil the motives of migrants. Then he follows the rest of the family north as they fan into the United States. Crossing Over is written in the first person and is highly anecdotal, but Martínez constantly makes observations that break free from these narrow confines. "Mexicans have always had an uncanny instinct for finding the soft spots of the American labor economy," he notes at one point, explaining how it is that millions of poor people who barely speak English can thrive, in their way, north of the border. Crossing Over is an outstanding book, and required reading for anyone interested in Hispanics and the new America. --John Miller


Ruben Martinez Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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