Book Review:  Lives on the Line: Dispatches from the U.S.-Mexico Border, by Miriam Davidson


Reviewed by Bruce Rhodes


January 1, 2005


Excellent Coverage of US-Mexico Border Issues


Miriam Davidson's book is appropriately researched, well written, and full of personal anecdotes from her experiences in the twin borders cities of Nogales Arizona|Sonora. She explores key issues of social justice and environmental degradation in 'maquiladora' communities in Mexico.

I visited Nogales USA & Mexico in 1999, and saw little evidence of the poverty or ecological troubles that Davidson skillfully brings to light in her book. Her description of the Mexican children who live in the cities' sewer tunnel systems is heart-rending; the issues of poverty, drug running, environmental degradation, poor health of residents, economic disparity between USA and Central America, corruption, gender inequality, crime, and the mixed role played by maquila businesses are all interwoven, and Davidson does a great job of illustrating this.

One of the most remarkable stories in the book relates to an accomplished American woman of Mexican ancestry who has her new vehicle stolen from the streets of Tucson, AZ by members of the Nogales, Mexico police force. Her response to this injustice is both amazing and inspiring.

I highly recommend not only Lives on the Line, but the related books Coyotes, by Ted Conover, and Crossing Over, by Ruben Martinez.