Asked 4 years, 9 months ago. Modified 4 years, 9 months ago. Viewed times. Improve this question. Vladimir Parkhomenko Vladimir Parkhomenko 4 4 silver badges 19 19 bronze badges. You could just use tikz to place it globally on the chapter page.
Add a comment. Sorted by: Reset to default. Highest score default Date modified newest first Date created oldest first. Improve this answer. Peter Wilson Peter Wilson As an alternative there is also a little bit complicated decision here: tex. Sign up or log in Sign up using Google.
Sign up using Facebook. Sign up using Email and Password. Post as a guest Name. Email Required, but never shown. The Overflow Blog. Featured on Meta. After that, I lived like a drunk on the streets, sleeping between dumpsters. Maria Dolores talked her into coming back.
Omar, one of the woman's sons, was fifteen years old and repeatedly raped her. I got so used to him tying up my legs and arms and having sex with me like that" [ I only felt I was getting fat. That woman accused me of being a whore. I told her it was her son that did it, but she told me I was like my mother, a prostitute, and that just like her I'd ditch my future kids like dogs.
She dragged me out of the house naked and walked me five blocks to a nearby park and left me there. And so I had to start completely from scratch. And that's just one story! That doesn't work against the book. The true horror of the situation is actually what makes it good. Sounds like I should have loved it, right? I should. I'm into social issues. And that making their journey comfortable and safe is NOT a solution!
But it doesn't make the book any less worth reading. Just more biased and, at least for me, objectively a product deserving a lower rating. And personally, because that annoyed me. The bias of the author really got on my nerves. And because of the subject matter and the enormous effort put into gathering the material for it I feel like I should apologize.
Like I should love it just for what it is about THIS is why I was putting off writing this review for, well, forever. I hate feeling this way. My final verdict? It's good. Depending on how much you know, it can be shocking. It doesn't focus on one story, one place. It skims, and jumps, and introduces you to abundance of facts.
It's also infuriating in a sense that it makes me want to keep all those fucking gangs far away from me. Or, preferably, kill them. All of them Should you read it? Depends on what type of person you are, really, but I think that getting confronted with an uncomfortable reality is a healthy thing. View 1 comment. Jun 28, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: latin-america , travel , railways , migration. Living in Nicaragua, I regularly meet people who have migrated or want to migrate to neighbouring countries.
The trains are an essential means of transport for migrants who have little money and may need to travel 3, miles or more before they even enter the US. But they are also deadly, and not only because Central Americans cling precariously to the tops of freight cars from which if they fall asleep, for example they can easily drop under the wheels. The train routes, and the trains themselves, are plagued by violent gangs and casual bandits who want to rob, rape or kidnap migrants. Unlike any other train journey in the world, there is a high probability that a ride on The Beast will end in death, mutilation or some kind of captivity.
In southern Mexico, the main threat to the migrants is bandits, gang rivalry and failure to meet the demands of those who want to exploit them. As they get towards the border, the threats change. First, they are now firmly in Narcoland, where priority for crossing the border goes to drug mules, and mere migrants are a dispensable inconvenience.
Third, there is the complex and ever-changing issue of which places provide the safest opportunities to cross: a wrong decision can lead to capture and deportation, or worse. And finally, of course, they have to evade the border patrols waiting for them on the other side.
This is understandable, as he is talking to people all the time whose immediate priority is surviving that day and reaching and crossing that distant frontier. After all, if they are willing to risk their lives to make what must easily be the worst regularly made journey in the Americas, and to do so in many cases not just once but by making four or five or more attempts, then it is glaringly obvious that what they are escaping must be much worse than what they have to endure on their escape.
Read the book, imagine what it must be like to ride on top of The Beast at night time, waiting for lights to appear that in all likelihood will be bandits or kidnappers, and then think how scared those migrants must be of the violence or deprivation in the poor neighbourhoods they come from in San Salvador or San Pedro Sula, to have the guts to make this terrible journey north.
Jun 03, Adam rated it it was amazing. I dedicate this review to 70, missing migrants, to the , dead from the Mexican drug war and the 8 out 10 migrant women who are raped as they travel el norte. It is a small witnessing, but I do it for you. As the lights flicker a little bit in the American empire, we see the cracks in facade, but we must remember that we still cast a very large shadow, and we must remember those in the shadows.
This tour is the tour of hell. The horrible fates along this trail rival Dante and the violence seems pulled from the pages of Cormac McCarthy novel, but this is reporting, and Martinez reports it with compassion and humanity. This hell is ruled by the indifferent and at times hostile gods of the U.
We start south in the violence wracked and collapsing countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. We learn the stories of those who travel north, many not just seeking a better wage, but actually fleeing for their lives. Then we travel through the desolate regions of Chiapas where the migrants are prey to bandits. Bandits jumping on or being attacked with convoys of trucks, people trying to jump on and not get mutilated or killed, and once there on having to cling to the train for dear life while fighting off sleep.
There the migrants are caught between the border patrol, the narcos, and their own coyotes. Martinez is in the Ciudad Juarez during the height of the drug war and his reporting is frightening, a city of pure fear and violence, a near civil war.
He rides with the border patrol, the migrants, and those who few who try to help them without financial motivation, and those who prey on the migrants. He lets all of these voices speak. He is reporter and provides no real solutions to the disasters he witnesses, but we owe these who are among the most forgotten people in the Americas at least to hear their stories.
Martinez tells it so well if you can stomach the subject matter it is a joy to read, and you will not forget it. Aug 03, Mari rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , I don't think many people could read this and deny the work and research Martinez poured into it. I truly knew very little about the migrant trails before reading this, and was constantly overwhelmed by their reality while reading.
I took a lot away from The Beast, and have new context for any news stories or political discussions about migrants and other issues at the border. I think that for the most part, Martinez presented a balanced 3. I think that for the most part, Martinez presented a balanced story. I can't speak to how any groups were represented, but I do feel like he didn't shy away from any portion of this story, good, bad or any complicated shade in between.
Because things can change pretty radically between administrations, the portions of this that discussed the US side, Border Patrol, the wall, etc, I would expect are already rather outdated. It doesn't take much away from the information that is presented, because I think it's an interesting foundation to have, but I did find myself asking about how things might be now under new policies, a new president, and as things become increasingly difficult for migrants.
I had two issues with the telling and structure of this as a book. First is that I felt it could've been better organized to tell a more cohesive story. I imagine it was quite a challenge to gather so many years of research and so many pieces of a giant story, but the result is something that jumped around a little too much for my taste.
Second is that I found the translation to be a bit awkward at some points. There were word order and sentence structure things that made me feel as if the translators stuck to a more strict word for word translations instead of capturing the spirit of the meaning and correcting for English syntax. Still, I'm glad I read this and feel as if this is a subject I will continue to learn more about, thanks to the work Martinez shared with us.
Sep 10, Apratim Mukherjee rated it it was amazing. This is a book about illegal migrants. The author has travelled from southern Mexico from villages to migrant shelters to US border and has recorded heart wrenching stories of many migrants. He also interviews and puts forward stories of the other sides i.
There are lots of migrants crossing from Mexico to USA, some legally and many illegaly. A lot of these illegal migrants come from central America This is a book about illegal migrants. A lot of these illegal migrants come from central American countries. Whilst passing through Mexico, many are raped, most are robbed, some are killed but hardly anyone bats an eyelid because they are 'undocumented'. These atrocities faced by the migrants have been brought to light by the author in this book.
Reading this book made me think that how fortunate I am living in a peaceful city and having a permanent job. I rate this book as five out of five. This is a book which everyone politician from USA and Mexico should read. Nov 13, Stacia rated it it was amazing Recommended to Stacia by: Eliana.
Shelves: , racism-tyranny-social-justice-etc , favorites , north-america , latin-america , cartel-related , baw-bingo. It's like an up-front seat vs. The Beast needs to be required reading for everyone who resides in the Americas. Apr 28, CJ rated it it was amazing Shelves: international-relations.
I see it as a passing sentiment, a feeling too easy to forget. In Mexico, every time we presented the Spa "For me, good journalism has the ability to fulfill two basic roles: illuminating the darkest corners of our society so we can begin to see what goes on in them; and making things more difficult for the corrupt, the abusive, and the merciless, so that things might become a little easier for the needy.
Rage is harder to forget. Rage is less comfortable than compassion, and so more useful. Rage and indignation, these were my objectives in Mexico. Now I consider what feelings I hope to incite in an American reader. I hope, rather, that the book generates respect for these men and women, for those who have done something for their families that many of us could hardly find the strength to do.
Dec 23, Prakriti rated it really liked it. It is a wonder that certain books exist. That that story is being told, never mind the literary necessities of it. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood is one of those, going places no one wants to go, telling stories no one is interested in recounting. The Beast, similarly is a rare non-fiction book that is astounding for the stories it chooses to tell, for showcasing a version of a hell very difficult to imagine in comfortable existences.
This is not utopian imagination It is a wonder that certain books exist. This is not utopian imagination nor efforts to scare the reader into fantastical horrors. The book has been translated from Spanish, and one does feel the inadequacy of English to be able to startle, to be able to put one's finger on the pulse with the lingo. However, the very stark tone of the stories, and the matter-of-fact acceptance of life is more vivid than any set of verbal pyrotechnics could fathom.
The outlook is not pessimistic, or bleak. There is no sense at all of things EVER getting any better, of possibly having another way to do things. The stories this book is telling is beyond disappointment or trying to garner sympathy. The horror is in the acceptance, the horror is in knowing that this is everyday life. I have read a few books on the drug trade in South America, and the stories about utter lawlessness of Mexico and the drug route into America has a certain extra-judicial flair about it.
That this book chooses to stay away from making drug mules and the business as the center-piece is remarkable. You feel the fear, you can smell the danger in the stories it avoids telling. This is Gonzo storytelling at it's very brave. This is more of a sustained piece of investigative journalism than a book.
But what import! There are NO stories like this in newspapers anywhere. There are quiet journalists, and there are dead journalists. No third kind in Mexico. The original title of the book was 'Migrants who do not matter', and perhaps that is a fitting coverage for a book that goes through the entire migrant trail. However, the chapters dedicated to traveling on the Beast a cargo train across Central America that is a major mode of travel for migrants are throbbing with adrenaline and pathos at the same time!
There were entire chapters that reminded me of the train scene from Sholay with the bandits chasing. Just that they were more efficient in the book. After all, the best of non-fiction is still constrained overall by the story it is telling, the kick in it coming from the story being told. The bravery is in choosing the story, not exactly in telling it in a certain way.
That Mr. I would suggest this is essential reading for the modern world. Jun 05, Dave rated it liked it Shelves: read-non-fiction. The Rio Grande makes up roughly of the nearly mile international border between the United States and Mexico. It is its own natural abbreviation, cutting short the lives of many migrants and fitting as Martinez brought his journalistic examination to a close. The river meanders and runs roughshod through the desert, at times coursing at a breakneck pace and other times teeming with eddies and just shallow enough to traverse.
The risk is high. While Border Patrol is ubiquitous in a migra The Rio Grande makes up roughly of the nearly mile international border between the United States and Mexico. While Border Patrol is ubiquitous in a migrant's paranoia, it's impossible to police the entire frontier.
Yet there are only so many places that offer a slim chance of survival beyond just crossing, for the grind beyond is grueling, the terrain lonely and unforgiving. This is the true story of El Norte and her siren call. The allure of the United States isn't a mystery. Migration isn't a mystery either. Most people seek a new beginning, free of government oppression, religious persecution, famine, poverty, or perhaps in the case of Mexico, corruption and powerful drug cartels.
Whatever the case, the land of the free has always been a gilded notion of success. Many Hispanics are met with prejudice, underpaid jobs, and the specter of deportation, but that is not what Martinez commands an audience for. He ingratiates himself to every chapter of escape. The web of illegal migration is front and center in an expose.
The result is nearly synonymous as the journey of a migrant itself. Unyielding and harrowing. Difficult to follow at times. Individuals are occasionally fluttering moths in the garden, here one moment, up and vanished the next. Others are similar to household mementos. He sees them and they are off out of sight only to reappear months later in another setting.
I came to believe in the strange non-linear world of the migrant, the acute dangers that elapsed riding the top of the Beast the rail lines and holding on for dear life unable to sleep lest they be thrown free of the train. They disembarked before pulling into a checkpoint to avoid the violence. The towns overrun by the Zetas the book is slightly dated, although drug cartels are still a major problem in Mexico make Martinez's job as a journalist slightly more difficult.
Approaching people clandestinely was the norm and many times a third party was used to get information. This was far from a glorification of the migration process, nor was it written to elicit sympathy for the Central-Americans knocking on the door of opportunity.
It certainly didn't lean towards a condemnation of American border policy. My intuition tells me that Martinez set out to document the migrant experience only to discover affirm? One would think it would be more economically feasible to, instead of spending thousands of dollars on manpower to deport or try in Immigration Court, vet and enfranchise those with no criminal record to track them and make them liable for taxation purposes. Martinez doesn't have time for any of this.
His only concern is exposing the welfare of the migrant at the hands of the polleros, the narcos, the cartels and the corrupt police. It's a veritable human obstacle course, the ultimate game of Survivor with bodies discarded in the desert and the river. Desire is no match for attrition. One unarmed pollo no match for the intricate web of human greed spun by the mafia, coyotes, drug runners et al.
The Beast, while a nickname for the train that runs North through Mexico, is but a metaphor for the precarious ride the hopeful emigrant maps out as they wind their way North. We are led to believe they are coming to do harm. The truth is, the harm has enveloped them along the way.
Jul 28, Stephanie rated it it was amazing. I received an ARC of this book, and after just 16 pages, I have to say I'm really excited for all that this book can present. The voice is honest and easy to read, and the topic very relevant. I'm looking forward to finishing it and seeing how my teen readers would react to this.
My opinion on this book remained at the top throughout my reading of it. It was an amazing journey, one which I was ignorant of, and now one that I can erase from my mind. The author travels the migrant trail and trains I received an ARC of this book, and after just 16 pages, I have to say I'm really excited for all that this book can present.
The author travels the migrant trail and trains with his photographer, and the situations they put themselves in blow my mind. I'm so grateful there are people in the world willing to risk their lives for the betterment of humanity, and that's what this book can do. It raises awareness about the brutalities migrants face in their homelands and through the Mexico. As an American in Chicago, I feel more removed from the border situation than my friends in Texas, but reading this book has changed my perspective.
It is honest, exciting, violent, heart-wrenching, and infuriating all at once. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they have an opinion on the Latino immigration situation or anyone who is looking to educate themselves more.
I would absolutely recommend portions of this book as reading excerpts for English, Sociology, Law, and Social Studies classes at my high school due to the language and some of the mature content, teachers would have to pre-read to find passages that suit their curricular needs best. I would also advocate for students interested in doing something about immigration to read this book.
I feel it would motivate them further. This book really shocked me when I read it. I honestly didn't know much about the lives of migrants before reading it with much of my knowledge coming from distanced news reports about things in Mexico that didn't affect me. But The Beast changed that. It brought these people's lives to light so I could actually empathize with them.
I didn't know much about the strife in Central America either. Now, the internal issues the countries in that area have are something I actually understand. However, it's clear from the way he humanizes the migrants, how he empathizes with them, that the migrants are not necessarily in the wrong either.
Politics, government and economics are huge driving factors in keeping undocumented migrants out of the USA even though the USA went into Central America first and fucked their shit up. But as the Border Patrol agent in the book says, it's just a big game of cat and mouse. No one really wins. The Beast is a train known amongst those that have uprooted themselves from their homes in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Beginning at a slow lurch, the Beast is fairly accessible to those looking for a ride.
Great read. Difficult read. Tread with caution. May 23, Kim rated it it was amazing. I borrowed this after reading about the controversy re: American Dirt, and saw it as a recommended read for more authentic narratives of Central American migrant crossing written by someone with shared background with the migrants.
If ever I think any personal experience is hard, or wonder how deep the roots of trauma run, I will remember how much these people risk and lose and bear. Just for the smallest chance of having the smallest part of what so many of us, myself included, have been given I borrowed this after reading about the controversy re: American Dirt, and saw it as a recommended read for more authentic narratives of Central American migrant crossing written by someone with shared background with the migrants.
Just for the smallest chance of having the smallest part of what so many of us, myself included, have been given freely. A must-read for everyone living in America. May 20, Lindsay Vlasak rated it really liked it. This was so good. Heartbreaking, but worth it in order to learn more about the Central American migrants who risk everything for the chance of a better life in the United States. After reading American Dirt, and seeing the controversy it provoked, I wanted to read about this subject from a Central American author.
Oscar Martinez is a Salvadoran investigative journalist who spent two years traveling with migrants through Mexico. Dec 22, Peter rated it it was amazing. If you believe in a just world where we all have opportunity, and that good or bad things happen for a reason, and people are inherently good Find yourself in awe of the struggle to reach the border and the implacable forces arrayed against the migrant. Jun 01, Claire rated it it was amazing Shelves: essays , social-issues.
Martinez at times travels as a migrant, having ridden "the Beast" 8 times, and at other times as journalist does interviews. Thus he gives a picture of multiple aspects of issues surrounding immigration for people without papers. Besides seeing the experiences of the migrants themselves, readers see the folks who run shelters, coyotes, narcos, and people who live in various towns. Martinez even spends a day with US border patrol. He conveys changes in the trip north as US rules change, as the fe Martinez at times travels as a migrant, having ridden "the Beast" 8 times, and at other times as journalist does interviews.
Oct 26, Vishal Misra rated it it was amazing. This is a deeply powerful book, and one that everyone with an interest in migration, its patterns, hazards and motivations should read. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These three countries are three of the poorest in the region, and they are the most violent corridor on the planet, in terms of the homicide rate per , cit This is a deeply powerful book, and one that everyone with an interest in migration, its patterns, hazards and motivations should read.
These three countries are three of the poorest in the region, and they are the most violent corridor on the planet, in terms of the homicide rate per , citizens. However, it is all too easy to dismiss this as a problem of Central America. No doubt, there are those, certainly Americans, who will state that the responsibility for this region lies in the faults of the Central Americans themselves.
This is a nonsense. The United States triggered multiple coups against democratically elected leftist rulers in Central America. They supported narcotraffickers, as long as the narcos paid contributions towards overthrowing these leftist rulers. US money bankrolled brutal civil wars, and US institutions trained the elites who massacred wave after wave of the poor. The US encouraged the growth of the Salvadoran "maras", and "with the logic of an ape", they simply deported the cancer they had grown back to Central America.
Thus, paradoxically, Central America is more violent, and poor, today than it was during their civil wars. It is this hopelessness that migrants are fleeing, and it is imperative to remember this. So what does it mean to migrate from Central America to El Norte? It means paying smugglers known as either "polleros" or "coyotes" , who may just lead lead to the Mexican deserts and declare you to be in the United States.
It means paying "taxes" to the narcos such as Los Zetas or the Sinaloa cartel to ensure that you are not kidnapped, tortured and ransomed. It means riding the Beast. The Beast that has an awful bite. In the freezing cold, atop the cargo trains it takes one false step, one moment of dozing, one lapse in concentration. If this happens, then dependent on your world view, the best that can happen is that you will be killed, the worst that you will lose a limb or vice-versa.
Riding the Beast means that you are subject to the "taxes" of the train crews, the migrant police, bandits and narcos. Every single one of these groups treat migrants as big business, and they all want their piece of the pie. Unsurprisingly, the biggest business is that in women. Women who have a bio-credit-card. Their bodies. By submitting to rapes, they can keep a migrant group safe, they can reduce the chances of kidnap or torture.
The sheer number of rapes will boggle your mind. That's if they're "lucky". The unlucky will be kidnapped, tattooed with a Z, and become property of Los Zetas. Thence they will work in strip clubs as prostitutes, and this will be their life and the end of their migration adventure. Oscar Martinez speaks to migrants in migrant shelters run by concerned priests.
However, the scale of political indifference in Mexico towards these migrants and their ongoing brutalisation is what astounds. The silence of the politicos screams from the pages. There is no explanation as to why the Beast slows down to allow migrants on and off, despite the dangers. There is no explanation as to why migrants are funneled towards the few migration points that remain open.
There is no explanation as to why migrant deaths are simply ignored. The intersection between narcotraffick and the human tide is what makes up the latter part of the book.
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