ISBN-10: 1786632276
ISBN-13: 9781786632272
Publisher: Verso
Publish Date: 07/25/2017
Dimensions: 8.20" L, 5.40" W, 1.10" H

Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives

Edited byPeter Orner
Foreword by: Luis Urrea


Price: $19.95


These remarkable oral histories of undocumented men and women struggling to carve a life for themselves in the U.S. “[fill] a gap in our understanding of [immigration] by humanizing the people at the center of an otherwise cold debate” (Huffington Post)

They arrive from around the world for countless reasons. Many come simply to make a living. Others are fleeing persecution in their native countries. Millions of immigrants risk deportation and imprisonment by living in the U.S. without legal status. They are living underground, with little protection from exploitation at the hands of human smugglers, employers, or law enforcement. Underground America presents the remarkable stories of U.S. immigrants. Among the narrators:

Farid, an Iranian-American business owner who employs a number of American citizens while he himself remains undocumented. A critic of the Iranian government, he fears for his safety if he is deported to his native country.

Diana, who along with thousands of other Latino workers helped rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. After completing her work, she and many others were detained and imprisoned for not having proper documentation.

Liso, who was enticed to come to the United States as a religious missionary, but on arrival was forced into unpaid domestic labor.

Underground America is part of the Voice of Witness book series–co-founded by acclaimed author Dave Eggers–which uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world.

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"Bold and heartbreaking."
Miami SunPost

"In a time when history is told in cheap television reenactments, if at all, and personal tragedy is gobbled up in rapidly digestible magazine photos and reality shows, this project goes against the grain."

"Average news-watchers who think they have a grasp on the immigration debate may well find these stories, speaking for millions of invisible American residents, no less than revelatory."
Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"The storytellers hold many different jobs, have different reasons for leaving home and different expectations about US life. Decades after arriving, many want desperately to go home and cannot."
–Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

"Throughout Underground America, the mistreatment of illegal immigrants painfully echoes this country's shameful past of slavery. These immigrants are now an invisible force that has helped grow our economy and infrastructure–they've built America, but have nothing to show for it."
–Holly Otterbein, Philadelphia City Paper

"Underground America is an excellent introduction to an ongoing social disaster. It gives a face to people in the country who are one injury, one legal problem, away from ruin."
–Oscar Villalon, The California Report

"This book is both archive and call to action, a document and a communiqué. These narratives complicate and trouble the mythologies around 'illegal immigrants'; the combination of stark and sometimes brutal concrete description of lived experience and astute analysis on the part of the people recounting those experiences undermines the received notions that 'they are taking our jobs, ' or 'they are merely a drain on the system ...'"
–Jen Hofer, CultureStrike

"The editors have chosen these tales with an eye for human rights violations and abuse. But they have also found inspiring stories."
–John Freeman, Houston Chronicle

"Underground America does an excellent job of showing the human side of the underground world of millions people in the United States."
–Susanna Zaraysky, New America Media

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 1786632276
ISBN-13: 9781786632272
Publisher: Verso
Publish Date: 07/25/2017
Dimensions: 8.20" L, 5.40" W, 1.10" H
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