Critical Book Review Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

To begin, I feel the need to state that this book was slightly hard to digest. I realize that I am meant to elaborate on whether or not I agree with Joseph Nevins' thesis, but to be honest, I was rather confused as to what that thesis is. The author jumped around quite a bit, giving the reader extensive background information and lessons in history and geography, and yet, he managed to tie everything back to the main story of Julio Cesar Gallagos. I think that, perhaps, the extraneous information might have drawn too much attention away from Julio's story, and therefore, I found myself becoming detached and uncertain of Nevins' central argument. Basically, I have concluded that Nevins is a humanist. I believe that the main point of this book is not necessarily about better border control/security or about the politics regarding immigration. Most likely, I think that Nevins really strives to educate the reader about an ever-prevalent human rights issue, and that is an argument I am inclined to agree with.
Although I have not been directly affected by the tragedy that often goes hand in hand with immigration, I think it is important to mention that I grew up in Southern California. Due to this, I definitely felt myself becoming fully engrossed in the book by Chapter Four, “Juchipila, MexUSA”. Though I have always loved the fact that California is such a melting pot, I am ashamed to say that quite a few of my friends do not feel the same. I have found that, despite the fact that these people don't consider themselves to be racist, that they show disrespect towards immigrants and are fearful that “illegal aliens” are going to take jobs away from the “whites.” Nevins really does a great job of explaining the background of many migrant workers and disproves the thinking that some of my friends have. Not only this, but he demonstrates how inequality really comes into play here, as he also reveals the conditions of these immigrants and the lengths they are willing to go to, in order to come to America. In the instance of Julio Gallagos, obviously his journey resulted in death.
I recall watching something on TV awhile back, in which immigrants were discovered in the desert, deceased from hyperthermia, almost exactly like the case of Julio. Why aren't there laws to protect these people or some sort of advanced security to ensure that future immigrants traveling from Mexico to the United States are safe from fatality? I feel as though Nevins never really answers this question. Instead, I believe that he uses the term “boundaries” not only literally, but as a sort of symbolic definition of the social and racial inequalities and injustices that separate entire groups of people.
In comparison to some of the other authors' essays I have read this term, I definitely think that Joseph Nevins writes in a way that is completely unoffensive. Due to the controversial subject matters we have tackled in this course, I believe that this is crucial....

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