The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place

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The New Press, Jul 1, 2009 - Social Science - 256 pages
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By the acclaimed author of the bestselling "Mexican Lives," a surprising, behind-the-headlines look at the lives of Mexican migrants, in the tradition of Oscar Lewis's classic "Five Families"
""Either you work, or you work. Those are the two choices!""--Sara, a street vendor in East Los AngelesIn her groundbreaking book "Mexican Lives," Judith Adler Hellman profiled fifteen Mexicans, both poor and rich, each of whom was struggling to survive the radical economic and political shifts of Mexico in the 1990s.
"The World of Mexican Migrants" looks at the aftereffects of these changes through the eyes of those who, no longer able to eke out even a modest living in their homeland, have come to the United States. In New York and Los Angeles, we meet, among others, construction workers, restaurant staff, sweatshop laborers, and street vendors. We encounter deliverymen who race through the streets to bring us our food. We hear stories of astonishing border crossings--including one man's journey riding suspended from the undercarriage of a train, and another's deadly three-day trek across the desert. Back in Mexico, Hellman visits family members of migrants who live on remittances from their husbands and relatives "al Norte,"
Drawing on five years of in-depth interviews, Hellman offers a much-needed humanizing perspective on the estimated 6 million undocumented Mexican migrants living in the United States, people whose voices are rarely heard in the din of angry political debate and talk-radio rhetoric on immigration.

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THE WORLD OF MEXICAN MIGRANTS: The Rock and the Hard Place

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A sympathetic, wide-ranging portrait of the lives of Mexicans on both sides of the border.Go to the Mexican consulate in Tucson, Ariz., and you'll be among the few waiting for services; go to the same ... Read full review


Part IThe Rock
Part IIThe Journey
Part IIIThe Hard Place
Part IVTo Stay or to Return Home
A Note on Methodology
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About the author (2009)

Judith Adler Hellman is a professor of social and political science at York University in Canada. The author of three previous books-Mexican Lives (The New Press), Mexico in Crisis, and Journeys Among Women-she has done fieldwork in Mexico since the late 1960s.

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