The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America

Algonquin. Jan. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781643750088. $28. POL SCI
This riveting memoir dives into the story behind one of the largest civil rights movements in recent U.S. history. Labor organizer Soni (founding dir., Resilience Force) helped hundreds of skilled workers from India escape from prison-like work camps and draw international attention to a form of human trafficking. This is a must-buy primary source depicting what a modern civil rights movement looks like in the United States. Soni details the corrupt and labyrinthine systems of U.S. immigration and Washington, DC, lobbying in accessible and gripping prose that is informed by hundreds of hours of interviews, years of directly organizing the movement, and thousands of pages of documents produced in the ensuing court cases. Beyond the research, this book stands out for its startlingly complex and intimate portraits of the immigrants, lawyers, immigration agents, and civil rights leaders encountered in these pages. The author reveals the way in which politics are woven into people’s lives and daily realities, telling his own immigration story in the process.
VERDICT This book will appeal to students of U.S. immigration and civil-rights history, as well as anyone who loves a beautifully told story.
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