Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives

UNDERGROUND AMERICA: NARRATIVES OF UNDOCUMENTED LIVES

Edited by Peter Orner with a Foreword by Luis Alberto Urrea

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, the third book in the Voice of Witness series, presents the remarkable oral histories of men and women struggling to carve a life for themselves in the U.S.

Read a review in the Guardian and read a review and excerpt at NPR.org

Read an interview with editor Peter Orner in Salon

NARRATORS INCLUDE:

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 back to his native country.

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

LISO, a South African woman who was the victim of a bait-and-switch immigration scam. She was enticed to come to the U.S. as a religious missionary, but once here, her sponsors forced her into unpaid domestic labor.

ABOUT THE EDITOR & FORWARDER:

Peter Orner edited Underground America and co-edited Hope Deferred, and is the author of four books of fiction, including the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love. His most recent book, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and named a Favorite Book of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal.
Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. The critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize.

PRAISE FOR UNDERGROUND AMERICA

“This book fills a gap in our understanding of the issue by humanizing the people at the center of an otherwise cold debate.”

—Chris Ying for the Huffington Post
Read the full review here

“The book gives a human face to the statistics we see on TV about illegal immigration. I was familiar with the harsh living conditions and migration patterns of undocumented Latin Americans in the US, but I was quite shocked at the stories of the African, South Asian, Chinese and Iranians in the book.”

Susanna Zaraysky for New America Media

“No less than revelatory.”

Publishers Weekly

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