The Line Becomes A River by Francisco Cantú

The Line Becomes A River

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 blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deli...

Details The Line Becomes A River

TitleThe Line Becomes A River
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Politics

Reviews The Line Becomes A River

  • Will Byrnes
    “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 would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”Immigration experts cite various reasons why people eligible for DACA’s protections do no...
  • Maureen
    *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 in him to learn more about border control. He decided to pursue a degree in border relations, and although his studies provided some insight into the problems, he needed...
  • Rebecca Foster
    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 drugs, cached belongings and corpses of those who’d tried to cross in inhospitable conditions. Even when Cantú was transferred to a desk job, he couldn’t escap...
  • Nat K
    "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 officer anywhere, let alone an area with so much historical significance and fraught with as much difficulty as the U.S/Mexico border.I think it would be soul destroying. I beli...
  • Montzalee Wittmann
    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. Interested in the politics of the border, he takes classes in college and gets a degree but still he wants to be up close and know more. He becomes a border guard ...
  • Canadian Reader
    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 piece. Richly allusive, it refers to the works of many writers on immigration, history, politics, and psychology. Aspects of Mexico’s geography—its flora and fauna...
  • Trish
    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 policing the border.This is a beautiful book, a beautiful physical object. Riverhead Books formatted the inside to be a kind of art, using gray pages to separate the sect...
  • Meike
    "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 job, I had the idea that I'd see things in the patrol that would somehow unlock the border for me, you know? I thought I'd come up with all sorts of answers. And t...
  • Wendy Trevino
    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 come to expect that. But some of the people I worked with were some of the most intelligent, humane people I’ve ever met. It’s the largest law-enforcement force in the country, ...
  • Oki
    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 universe, made by collaborating with the forces of death that this book pretends to mourn, it is selfish and degrading. This book tries to humanize hunting down other p...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    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 myself, but I know there’s something here I can’t look away from. Maybe it’s the desert, maybe it’s the closeness of life and death, maybe it’s the tension bet...
  • Stephen
    thanks to the publishers and netgalley for a free copy in return for an open and honest reviewfound 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 and border patrol but at same lights gives some insight into mexican history too. The first part of the book took awhile to get going for me but the latter part of the b...
  • Diane Yannick
    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 the whole immigration debate. People have boycotted some of Cantu’s book signings because to them he represents the evils of police brutality. I question whether th...
  • Roman Clodia
    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 drink nothing at all. I'll run and hide from la migra, I'll pay the mafias whatever I have to. They can take my money, they can rob my family, they can lock me away...
  • Barbara
    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 understanding of the culture, and knows the history of his Mexican ancestors. His Mexican American mother had worked as a US Ranger in a national park in the Southwes...
  • Rachel Aranda
    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 stories the author shares. It was nice reading a book from someone who served as law enforcement as I rarely find cops turned authors.Speaking of the author, this book ...
  • Neil
    "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 and again to be with them. So you see, these same people, the ones with the most dedication to their family, they begin to build up a record of deportation, they hav...
  • Janet
    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, who majored in international studies in college, takes a job with the border patrol in order to deepen his understanding of illegal immigration in a very hands on way. I...
  • Conor
    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 quite a handsome, mustachioed young man, the first hits were all about protests of his book readings, claiming that this book was a vehicle for glorifying the work of the a...
  • Judith E
    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 numbing mass migration and deaths. This is a very complicated problem and he provides us with a look at the brutal, dangerous desert crossing combined with specific stori...
  • Elizabeth☮
    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 below it) and that border changed and found many of his forebears found themselves on the wrong side of an arbitrary line. In the end, the question is not about politics or sides, but, rather, about humanity and grace.
  • Sarah
    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 topic. A particularly timely book, and one I think everyone in America (and anywhere to be honest) should read to get a greater understanding of the topic. This one ...
  • Sara
    The author tells other people’s stories while directly causing and profiting from their pain. This is a book about his contributions to other people’s suffering that also gives extremely skewed look at life on the border that provides fodder for right wing anti-immigration sentiments.
  • Jim Angstadt
    The Line Becomes A RiverFrancisco CantúAfter graduating from college, the author went to work for the US Border Patrol. For him, studying international relations, with an emphasis on immigration and related topics, was not sufficient. He wanted to experience it himself, at the border, to learn first-hand how the reality meshes with the theory. His account of his training and experiences is totally believable. It includes the perspectives of Bord...
  • Dan Friedman
    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 southwest American border. Coming from a Mexican-American family with deep roots in the southwest and family ties in both the U.S. and Mexico, The Line Becomes a River: D...
  • Laura
    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week:Former US Border Patrol Agent Francisco Cantú worked on a remote spot on the US/ Mexican border from 2008-2012. In The Line Becomes a River he recounts how he tracks down an unending stream of men, women and children who risk all for a better life in the US away from the violent crime that underpins their lives in Mexico. He tells the personal stories of the weary and the spent who he turns backs, and of the m...
  • Tara - Running 'n' Reading
    A native Texan, I have visited several areas along the Texas-Mexico border: Brownsville/Matamoros; McAllen/Reynosa; Laughlin Air Force Base, near the Rio Grande; Big Bend National Park; and El Paso/Ciudad Juarez. For several years, my father was a partner in a land lease for deer hunting; he would leave home (Beaumont), head west on I-10, and travel for what seemed like, from childhood memories, forever. The rancher explained how he used to get c...