The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border

The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised...

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Title:The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border
Author:Francisco Cantú
ISBN:The Line Becomes a River
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  • The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
  • The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
  • The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
  • The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
  • The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
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Popular Answered Questions
Kristi Groseclose I read an article and the author said he knows where he's at and he's not safe, but wouldn't elaborate anymore on it. Sad. Very sad.
Melissa Hi Steve,

According to a Vox interview, Cantu left the BP when he became a Fulbright Fellow. He went to the Netherlands to study rejected asylum…more
Hi Steve,

According to a Vox interview, Cantu left the BP when he became a Fulbright Fellow. He went to the Netherlands to study rejected asylum seekers who decided to stay after their deportation orders.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages pages

The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border Reviews

  • Wendy Trevino
    Jan 13, 2018
    This is a book for the #bluelivesmatter & #alllivesmatter crowd. I hate that crowd. from an interview in the San Antonio Express News: "Q. How does the image of the Border Patrol square with your experience? [Cantu]: Agents have been represented as callous, and they have c...
  • Kelly
    Jun 01, 2018
    An extremely frustrating read about Cantu's time as a border patrol agent and then his desperate desire to be redeemed because he deigns to accept Mexicans attempting to cross the border as human when he makes a friend of one after he leaves his job. Cantu is Mexican-American, so the r...
  • Barbara
    Jun 15, 2018
    Exquisitely written. Cantú worked for 4 years as a Border Patrol agent, after earning a degree in international studies focused on the border, he decided he wanted to see it for himself. Cantú is fluent in Spanish, and though his ancestry is only one-quarter Mexican, he has a deep un...
  • Elizabeth☮
    Jun 11, 2018
    I heard Cantu read sections from this one on This American Life and knew I wanted to pick it up. He tries to keep emotions out of the argument, but Cantu's history is inextricably tied up to the history of Mexico (and all that lies above it) and then that border changed and many of his...
  • Diane Yannick
    Feb 20, 2018
    In rating this book, I have ignored a few narrative flow problems that occasionally annoyed me. (You can tell the author is a poet who doesn?t want to be constrained by sequential, focused narrative arcs.) I gave it this rating because this is an important point of view to hear in th...
  • Will Byrnes
    Feb 05, 2018
    ?There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,? Kelly said. ?The difference between (690,000) and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others wou...
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Feb 16, 2019
    If you are an American citizen, especially if you came to this country via birth to two American citizens, and especially if you live in a state that is removed from the Mexican-American border, it may be easy for you to contemplate those who are coming to America via illegal means as ...
  • Trish
    Mar 12, 2018
    This book seems too small for all it accomplishes. The quiet watchfulness and introspection of the Prologue tamps down opinion before it develops. We are here to listen, to understand. It is such a quiet read, immediately alert to the tension inherent in a grandson of immigrants polici...
  • Janet
    Mar 03, 2018
    I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I knew that Cantu was a former Border Agent and also Mexican American so I felt his perspective would be unique and worth examining. Living as I do in Arizona, border and deportation issues are always in the forefront of my mind. Cantu, w...
  • Canadian
    Mar 30, 2018
    Slim and beautifully written, The Line Becomes a River is a powerful, deeply humane piece of nonfiction about the lives of Border Patrol agents and desperate migrants on the frontier between the U.S. and Mexico. This is a hybrid work: part memoir, part meditation, part expository pie...
  • Oki
    Jan 14, 2018
    I don't find the ethics of this book interesting, nuanced, complex, or human. What's being posed here, is the worst that literature has to offer, and is a variation of a genre already used by the cultural propagandists of the so-called "free world." It's a cop-loving dead end of a univ...
  • Dianne
    Aug 05, 2018
    I really enjoyed this book and don?t understand at all the venom being directed at the author, a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Looking at some of the reviews of this book, it?s pretty clear the most vitriolic reviewers never read the book at all or read only a portion of it. I t...
  • Sarah
    Mar 04, 2018
    I feel like any words I use to try and describe this book will fall short of conveying what Francisco Cantú achieves here in this relatively short book. I'd recommend reading Meike and Conor's great reviews to get an idea of what this is about and for some insightful thoughts on the t...
  • Stephen
    Nov 06, 2017
    thanks to the publishers and netgalley for a free copy in return for an open and honest review found this book very interesting in light of current developments in american politics and history. the author expresses himself as the dehumanisation of the whole process of deportation a...
  • Judith E
    Apr 08, 2018
    I am naively Midwestern and what I know about the US/Mexican border is from news blips. I am basically uninformed. Mr. Cantu's journey from border patrol agent to an advocate for a deported Mexican immigrant is very revealing. He separates the individual experience from the mind numbin...
  • Rebecca
    Apr 09, 2018
    Francisco Cantú was a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona and Texas for four years. Agents tracked illegals using the same skills with which hunters stalk their prey. Once captured, the would-be immigrants were detained, processed and deported. Days in the field were full of smuggled ...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    Feb 11, 2018
    This book is so good! Cantú was a US border control agent for four years and ?The Line Becomes a River? is a true reckoning of what he witnessed, did and was implicit in. It?s heartbreaking and so well written! ?I don?t know if the border is a place for me to understand mys...
  • Maureen
    Nov 24, 2017
    *3.5 STARS* Francisco Cantú grew up on the US / Mexican border where his mother, ( a second generation Mexican - American ) was a park ranger. Francisco loved the landscape - the national parks and desert landscapes, and living in close proximity to the border ignited a curiosity i...
  • Taryn Pierson
    Jan 25, 2018
    I was not aware of the controversy surrounding this book and its author when I chose to read it. Had I known how hurtful some would find this book, I wouldn't have prioritized it, and I definitely would have sought out a library copy instead of paying for one. I take the protesters' po...
  • Montzalee Wittmann
    Feb 27, 2018
    The Line Becomes A River (Hardcover) by Francisco Cantú is a very emotional book. I was angry, depressed, sad, but I don't think I was happy once in the book. The guy of the story, his mother was a ranger and he grew up loving the outdoors and near the border. He has Mexican heritage....
  • Neil
    Jan 15, 2018
    "Some politicians in the United States think that if a mother or father is deported, this will cause the entire family to move back to Mexico. But in fact, the mothers and fathers with the best family values will want their family to stay in the U.S., they will cross the border again a...
  • Nat K
    Jul 06, 2018
    "I dream in the night that I am grinding my teeth out, spitting the crumbled pieces into my palms and holding them in my cupped hands, searching for someone to show them to, someone who can see what is happening." This book is INTENSE. I cannot imagine being a border patrol offic...
  • Rachel Aranda
    Apr 26, 2018
    Reading this book was informative as I?ve always wondered what personal experiences a Border Patrol Officer goes through. There was a mixture of memories with mom, sad experiences dealing with illegal immigrants, and much more in this book. It?s worth a read for the variety of stor...
  • Kathleen
    Apr 11, 2018
    Cantu is a third-generation Mexican-American and joined the US border patrol in 2008 at the age of 23. He grew up in Arizona and had studied international relations in Washington and wanted to see the dynamics of border politics for himself. The author divides his account into three pa...
  • Conor
    Feb 28, 2018
    This is the story of a Mexican-American who goes to the borderlands to work with border patrol, losing much of himself and his equanimity in the process. As with most first-time authors I read, I tried to find out a bit more about Francisco Cantú. Aside from seeing that he is quit...
  • Claire Reads Books
    Jul 20, 2018
    3.5 ? There?s a lot to admire here in the way Francisco Cantú writes about the US/Mexico border, but his own place within the story (his Mexican heritage, his motivations for joining the Border Patrol, and his regrets about implicating himself in a deeply flawed system) remained h...
  • Dan
    May 02, 2018
    What does a college degree in international relations prepare you for? For Francisco Cantú, it was four years in the U. S. Border Patrol?described by his own mother as ?a paramilitary police force? and ?a system, an institution with little regard for people?? on the southw...
  • Roman Clodia
    Jan 14, 2018
    So you see, there is nothing that can keep me from crossing. My boys are not dogs to be abandoned in the street. I will walk through the desert for five days, eight days, ten days, whatever it takes to be with them. I'll eat grass, I'll eat cactus, I'll drink filthy cattle water, I'll...
  • Bookforum Magazine
    Jan 24, 2018
    "I came to think of The Line Becomes a River as an attempt to counter these dehumanizing metaphors. Cantú has written an insistently humane book, or maybe just a human one. It does not presume to be an account of what the border means, or a theory about what should be done about it; r...
  • Meike
    Sep 20, 2017
    "When I was in school, I spent all this time studying international relations, immigration, border security. I was always reading about policy and economics, looking at all these complex academic ways of addressing this big unsolvable problem. When I made the decision to apply for this...