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The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail by [Martinez, Oscar]
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The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 313 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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“The graceful, incisive writing lifts The Beast from being merely an impressive feat of reportage into the realm of literature. Mr. Martínez has produced something that is an honorable successor to enduring works like George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier or Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives.” – Larry Rohter, New York Times

“To understand the dramatic realities faced by the migrants who flee northwards to find work in the United States, Óscar Martínez literally jumped trains and dodged killers. He deserves praise not only for his efforts, and for what he writes about, but because he writes so very well.” – John Lee Anderson, New Yorker

“A heartbreaking book about the world’s most invisible people. A revelatory work of love and hair-raising courage.” – New York Review of Books

“The Beast is extraordinary, first, for the courage that Martínez summoned to write it; and, second, for the hidden lives he reveals. No other writer has got this close to a migration that Amnesty International estimates left 70,000 unaccounted for between 2006 and 2012. Read together, the vivid personal stories told here have the force of a novel, the bravery of the migrants holding up a terrible mirror to the gang violence of Central America, the grotesque institutional breakdown of backcountry Mexico, and the callousness of the US, which once fanned civil wars in Central America and now turns its back on the problems those conflicts helped create. Yet if Martínez feels anger, he does not show it. Instead, his precise, empathetic and often poetic language summons rage and pity but also admiration in the reader.” – John Paul Rathbone, Financial Times

“The most extraordinary (and harrowing) book I read this year. Beautiful and searing and impossible to put down.” – Junot Díaz

“Óscar Martínez has written a gale-force book, a sweep across the equally daunting criminal and physical landscapes from the vantage point of those at the war’s coalface: Central American migrants crossing Mexico by train, road and on foot through scrub and desert, chasing the phantasmagoria of America, such is the misery or danger back home … Martínez is clearly a wonderful listener––journalism’s rarest and most important attribute—and this makes his prose resound with raw authenticity.” – Ed Vulliamy, Observer

“The world that Óscar Martínez, a Salvadoran journalist, set out to report on five years ago is so violent, depraved and hellish, you can hardly believe he survived to tell the tale ... rugged prose, beautifully translated.” – Economist

“Martínez is a powerful storyteller and his approach to investigative journalism is closer to anthropological immersion: He walks with migrants through bloody forests, eats with them at spartan shelters, and rides with them atop speeding trains.” – Columbia Journalism Review

“The Beast, like so many great books, lands on you with a revelatory frisson, the arrival of a story we didn’t know we were waiting to hear.” – Los Angeles Review of Books

“Óscar Martínez is a journalist of uncommon bravery and a writer of prodigious talent. The Beast is a powerful, necessary book, one of the finest pieces of journalism to emerge from Latin America in years.” – Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles

“A heartbreaking book about the world's most invisible people. A revelatory work of love and hair-raising courage.” – Alma Guillermoprieto, Latin America correspondent for the New York Review of Books, author of Dancing with Cuba

“Martínez's writing is eloquent, gritty, and incisive, embedded in vividly observed detail ...” – New York Journal of Books

“Oscar Martínez is one of the bravest writers in Latin America, if not the world. He's also one of the best... he has crafted a portrait of the hellish conditions and dangers for those dreaming of a better life. For such devastating subject matter, it's a fluent, humane, readable book, and one of the most capital-I important, capital-I inspiring released this year... an essential piece of writing about some of the hardest and most hopeful young people on earth” – Charlie Robin Jones, Dazed & Confused

“The statistics are terrifying. Amnesty International recently estimated that as many as 70,000 undocumented migrants went missing in Mexico between 2006 and 2012. An estimated 80 per cent of migrant women are raped on the journey. Martinez – who faces untold dangers as a reporter – gets beyond these numbers with skill and subtlety. He tells the stories of individuals with names, ages, faces, families, for whom migration is a matter of life and death.” – Independent

“This searing account of the hardships suffered by Central American migrants headed through Mexico to the United States comes from true shoe-leather reporting.” – Publisher's Weekly

“… Martínez’s debut is the hard-won result of immersive journalism.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A remarkable book... war reporting of the finest order. 5 stars.” – Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday

“Drawing on eight trips accompanying illegal migrants from Central America across the border into the United States. Oscar Martínez, a Salvadoran journalist, does a beautiful job describing a world that is hellish, violent and depraved.” – The Economist, Books of 2013

“An extraordinary account of Central American migration to the US.” – The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Oscar Martinez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America. The original edition of his book "Los migrantes que no importan" was published in 2010 by Icaria and El Faro and a second edition by Mexico s "sur+" Ediciones in 2012. Martinez is currently writing chronicles and articles for El Faro s project, Sala Negra, investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martinez won the Fernando Benitez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the Jose Simeon Canas Central American University in El Salvador."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5251 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Reprint edition (1 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #320,947 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Beast is a train that Central America would-be illegal migrants to the US often ride on their journey - 6 hours minimum at a stretch on the top of cars and often in freezing temperatures so that it's easy to fall asleep, lose concentration, fall off and be dragged under to death or lose a limb or part of one. And you can also be robbed by people moving along from one carriage to the next with arms of various kinds...

It's one chapter in this book long collection of journalism about illegal migrants passing through Mexico with a view to crossing illegally into the North. We get a sense of why people do this - e.g because they are fleeing gang violence and will die anyway if they remain back home, of just what the hardships are on the journey (you can't report any crime/hang around for any trial and so are fair game for exploitation of any kind by the local, by bandits, narcos, police etc - you can be kidnapped and ransom extorted from relatives, killed, raped, robbed at any point) and of the increased difficulties of crossing - whether the Rio Grande or various parts of the wall (normally into the desert with long hard walks ahead, going through the same channels as narcos who will extort a tax, and with the risk of being picked up on the other side and deported back to your country of origin).

This is a very powerful book about man's inhumanity to man. The first couple of chapters in particular pack a very powerful punch. I would strongly recommend this to others.
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Format: Hardcover
In an age where journalists have sunk to the level of bankers and politicians in the public's opinion, this book is a welcome reminder that, at its best, journalism can be the noblest of professions. The drive and courage of Martinez in seeking out these searing and heart-rending stories is entirely admirable. The book itself is very readable (I didn't have the problems with the translation mentioned by another reviewer) and its structure, matching the geography of the migrant routes, makes perfect sense and brings the reader into the journey (I found it helpful to have a big map nearby to refer to as the journeys progressed). If you know the novels of Cormac McCarthy you will recognise the casual Mexican brutality that pervades this book.

This is a book I will remember for a long time. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a key book if you want to know what is going on in Mexico right now. The author, a Salvadorean, travels the length and breadth of the country, to some very dangerous places. He puts his life on the line to bring us these harrowing stories. I'd highly recommend this book, alongside The Devil's Highway, Amexica and Narco if you want an insight to the problems in this complex, beautiful and fascinating but, unfortunately, sometimes violent country.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was interersting from start to finish. I never knew how much suffering and how much violence went on in some south american cities.
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