Ted Conover’s “Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders …”

Hello my friends!! I have another great book for you, but I will get to it in a minute. 

I want to thank Melanie for her question about the 2016 Book Challenge. I have not only challenged everyone to reading 24 books in 2016, but I am also challenging everyone to make it a NO BUYING BOOK YEAR. Melanie says, ” … BUT … NO BUYING BOOK YEAR … does this include the “free” Kindle books … YIKES! … you got me in a sweat just thinking about this one!!”

Here’s my answer: NO this challenge does not include “free” Kindle books (www.kindlefreebooks.co.uk) or “free” Book Buds (www.bookbub.com). These books are offered for “free,” so you are not spending money on them. However, with “free” books you are not likely to get the most current publications. Most of the books I have downloaded are classics. On the other hand, this year may be a good time to catch-up on some classics. NO BUYING BOOK YEAR is just that: No buying! And “Yes” I am all ready being challenged. Also this challenge does not include professional books for your job, etc. 

Thanks for the question Melanie. If anyone else has a question or suggestion, please click on comment and let me know what you are thinking … now, onto this week’s book. 

Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America’s Illegal Migrants
by Ted Conover

(Published 1987 by Vintage Books, updated in 2006; 264 pages; nonfiction)

Sun slipped through the cracks left by poor workmanship, providing the shack’s only light. A space around the plywood slapped across the window, a slit between the corroding sheet-metal door and its jam, tiny arcs between crumbling cinder blocks and the corrugated tin roof: if you stood in the right places the rays hit your shoes, surrounded by cigarette butts, everything dusty on the dry dirt floor.
     Alonso, squatting down to give his legs a rest, surveyed the scores of butts. “Lots of wetbacks waited here, eh?” I thought of the minutes of worried waiting represented by each butt, the cumulative anxiety of them all. Already, since the coyotes had left us here, we had waited two hours; my cigarettes, now, were gone. No one but the coyotes — the smugglers — knew exactly where we were. If things were going according to plan, we were somewhere near the Rio Grande, and would soon be ferried across to the United States. But, if they disbelieved the story I had invented and still suspected I was an undercover cop, then … anything could happen (page 1).

This is how Ted Conover begins his journey in this true-life story of undocumented migrants crossing from Mexico into the United States. This is a new world for Conover, as it would be for any Americans who voluntarily put themselves in danger to learn how immigrants survive — or not survive — the grueling journey from the past into the future.

Conover does not want to “just” hear the stories; he wants to experience the uncertainty of the future, the fear of betrayal, the stress of being caught. Hundreds of people cross this border every day. Now it is his turn to sneak across the mighty river that serves as a natural border between Texas and Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuilo, Nuevo Le´on and Tamaulipas.

Some people cross the border by themselves or with others they know. But most put their lives into the hands of coyotes, smugglers who help people cross the US-Mexican border illegally. A coyote will charge people anywhere from $ 5,000 and up to help them get from one side of the river to the other. These fees are for the use of the route they are traveling — and to pay bribes or protection fees from Mexican law enforcement, gangs and drug cartels along the way.

However, having a coyote as a traveling companion is not always safe. Many coyotes take the money and then take the person or family hundreds of miles away from home, only to sell them to cartels or “forced recruitment.” Or the coyote abandons them in the desert to die. And yet, out of desperation, the number of people seeking this journey continues to grow.

Being aware of the dangers, immigrants still cross United States borders, looking for a place to survive, a place they can make a living to support their families, a place where they will feel safe from the violence that is so much a part of their lives. 

Ted Conover’s “Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with American’s Illegal Migrants” takes us through the laughter, the sorrow, the hardships, the fear and anxiety of his journey. It is a testament to the fact that the human spirit is strong and willing to walk a dangerous path, if it means survival. 

This book could be used for #12 “Read a book that challenges and stretches your current opinions” in the 2016 Reading Challenge.

Today do somthing that will challenge you!




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