Ron's Reviews > Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America's Illegal Aliens

Coyotes by Ted Conover
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Apr 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction

"Coyotes" is the name given by Mexicans to the men who smuggle them into the US and transport them illegally within the US. Traveling with Mexican farm workers, writer Ted Conover crossed twice into the US. He worked with them, picking oranges in Arizona, and drove with them to farm jobs and harvests in Idaho and Florida.

Conover writes with a clear eye and doesn't disguise his feelings for his subject matter. He is able to create and sustain suspense over many pages, including a days-long journey through a blizzard in a broken-down car, crossing miles of Arizona desert on foot by night, being pulled over by police in Utah and jailed under suspicion of transporting illegals -- a felony. In an episode both foolhardy and hilarious, he helps four of them get from Phoenix to Los Angeles by escorting them on their first-ever airplane flight.

"Coyotes" is a book about friendship and winning trust, and Conover shares his pleasure in becoming a trusted friend of the men he comes to know. He even makes a pilgrimage to the Mexican village his friends come from, where we meet their families and relatives.

After reading this book, it's difficult to maintain one's stereotypes of alien workers and illegals. And when you read the headlines and see TV coverage devoted to stories about border control, you feel you have a better idea of what it's like to be walking in their shoes.
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