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The Brownsville-Matamoros Ferry: crossing the Rio Grande from 1818 to 1929 Maggie Van Ostrand

Old is good, especially when it's a freshly discovered newspaper from April 1929. It's exciting to read things that happened even before the stock market crash was to occur that coming October, leading America into one of the bleakest periods in our history. That sad period also saw the close of the oldest institution on the lower Mexican border: the Brownsville-Matamoros ferry.

The ferry (chalon) was an efficient means of transportation between the U.S. and Mexico for 110 years but, in 1929, it took its last trip across the Rio Grande. read more

The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This is the story of a group of men who have become known as the Yuma 14. They are the fourteen illegal immigrants who died attempting to cross the Arizona border in May, 2001. And what a terrible and upsetting story it is. Unknown numbers of these illegal immigrants die every year making the dangerous crossing on foot over one of the most inhospitable stretches of terrain in the world. But the Yuma 14 constituted the largest known number of such immigrants to die at one time. read more

The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the Imf, One Reporter's Journey through History by John Ross Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Ross, a social activist, poet and working reporter based in Mexico City, has a lively and irreverent style. It makes his book an enjoyable read, despite the sometimes heavy material. His thesis is that outsiders, and most especially the United States, have never stopped trying to control or annex "this enormously rich, indescribably poor nation" in one way or another for centuries. Usually this was accomplished through plain old land-grabbing. Today the process continues through economic instruments such as indebtedness, NAFTA and the war on drugs. read more

Border Crossings by David L. Fleming Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The book is ased on an actual incident in relations between the U.S. and Mexico when, in 1916, Pancho Villa's bandidos, led by Antonio Salazar, raided the small town of Columbus, New Mexico. The border between the two countries in those times was a more tense and seemingly less well-defined place at the beginning of the century. Certainly there was less coming-and-going between the two countries then. read more
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