Underground America

UNDERGROUND AMERICA: NARRATIVES OF UNDOCUMENTED LIVES

Edited by Peter Orner with a Foreword by Luis Alberto Urrea

Immigrants 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.

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Read a review in the Guardian and a review and excerpt in NPR

Read an interview with editor Peter Orner in Salon

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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 is the author of two novels (Love and Shame and Love and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo), two short story collections (Esther Stories and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge), and editor of two books of non-fiction/oral history (Underground America and Hope Deferred). He is co-host of a radio program on KWMR/ Point Reyes, CA called Casual Footsteps with John McCrea and co-owner of a bookstore called the Book Exchange.
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.