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UCLA Common Book 2018-19: The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú

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Free copies of the Common Book will be distributed (while supplies last) from the First Year Experience department to first-year students at the end of Fall 2018. The UCLA Library has a copy that you can borrow.

The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches From The Border

The 2018-2019 Common Book, The Line Becomes A  River: Dispatches From The Border, was chosen by a committee comprised of UCLA students, staff, and faculty to engage the community in discussions and dialog related to various topics and themes.

Drawn from his experiences working as a border patrol agent along the border of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, Cantú gives a detailed, harrowing, and personal account about his time patrolling the border where he compliantly tracked, found, and detained immigrants who risked their lives to cross the harsh landscapes of the southwest. 

His narrative gives a relevant and contemporary look into the divisive issues surrounding border policy and the impacts it has on various individuals. More importantly, it fosters dialog about the realities of the immigrant experience, as well as those of the agents whose job it is to patrol and uphold border policy.

Cantú's work provides us with a platform that will allow the UCLA community to critically reflect upon relevant issues, topics and themes related to social justice, immigration, the refugee/immigrant experience, nationalism, identity (ethnicity, immigration status), conflict, displacement, and personal struggles while gaining a better understanding of the nature of the sociopolitical and ethnic divide caused by what Cantú, in this work, calls the "unnatural divide"(2018).


This research guide seeks to provide relevant resources that:

  1. Facilitate the incorporation of The Line becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border into teaching and learning
  2. Support the development and promotion of programs, events and exhibits related to its themes
  3. Invite you to be involved in any aspect of the UCLA Common Book Program