14 Miles: Building the Border Wall

S. & S. Jul. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781501183416. $28. SOC SCI
From 2017 to 2019, journalist and author Gibson (The Edge Becomes the Center) researched a small stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. That 14-mile stretch where construction companies built border wall prototypes as part of Trump’s campaign promise to reinforce the border is the focus of this well-documented narrative. Gibson interviewed people who live, work, and depend on this space for their livelihood, including a member of the Kumeyaay tribe whose ancestors lived on this land for generations, a San Diego contractor who submitted a border wall prototype, and a U.S. Border Patrol agent hoping to train teenagers to work at the agency. The author states early on that he is “searching for a way to figure out what a border really looks like in an increasingly interconnected world.” For those who live along this small stretch of terrain, this space carries a heavy significance. For some it is their livelihood and for others it is their history. Gibson delves into the human element behind these 14 miles.
VERDICT Written in a narrative style, this engaging book will appeal to anyone interested in learning more about who lives along the border and what a wall means to them.
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