Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border (America in the World)

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9780691156132: Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border (America in the World)
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Line in the Sand details the dramatic transformation of the western U.S.-Mexico border from its creation at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 to the emergence of the modern boundary line in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this sweeping narrative, Rachel St. John explores how this boundary changed from a mere line on a map to a clearly marked and heavily regulated divide between the United States and Mexico. Focusing on the desert border to the west of the Rio Grande, this book explains the origins of the modern border and places the line at the center of a transnational history of expanding capitalism and state power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Moving across local, regional, and national scales, St. John shows how government officials, Native American raiders, ranchers, railroad builders, miners, investors, immigrants, and smugglers contributed to the rise of state power on the border and developed strategies to navigate the increasingly regulated landscape. Over the border's history, the U.S. and Mexican states gradually developed an expanding array of official laws, ad hoc arrangements, government agents, and physical barriers that did not close the line, but made it a flexible barrier that restricted the movement of some people, goods, and animals without impeding others. By the 1930s, their efforts had created the foundations of the modern border control apparatus.


Drawing on extensive research in U.S. and Mexican archives, Line in the Sand weaves together a transnational history of how an undistinguished strip of land became the significant and symbolic space of state power and national definition that we know today.

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From the Back Cover:

"Rachel St. John untangles the myths surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border in this thoughtful and meticulously researched book. In so doing, she not only restores the border to its central place in borderlands studies but also renders the border essential for understanding the history of North America."--Karl Jacoby, Brown University

"Line in the Sand is a fascinating, imaginative, and surprising history of the Mexican border, a border which is all too often reduced to clichés. In her exemplary work, Rachel St. John's border has depth, surprises, and great complexity. Her book is a wonderful corrective to our current moment, which seems ruled by a rush of conflicting, often hysterical, and sometimes downright false information. It forces us to pause and think about how we came to this and what else is possible."--Richard White, Stanford University

"A pleasure to read, Line in the Sand is the first truly transnational history of the U.S.-Mexico land border. Grounded in extensive and meticulous research in both countries, this comprehensive book will be an important contribution to border and borderlands studies and U.S. history more broadly. It does a wonderful job of showing border dynamics in different realms and in all their complexity."--Mae Ngai, Columbia University

"This elegant book draws on the archives and historiographies of the United States and Mexico to place the borderlands in a broad, transnational context. St. John focuses great attention on the social, political, and institutional foundations of the border itself, and the light she shines on regional and national perspectives makes this outstanding book essential reading for historians of all stripes. It is one of the most satisfying borderlands histories available."--Sam Truett, University of New Mexico

About the Author:

Rachel St. John is associate professor of history at New York University.

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9780691141541: Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border (America in the World)

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Line in the Sand details the dramatic transformation of the western U.S.-Mexico border from its creation at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 to the emergence of the modern boundary line in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this sweeping narrative, Rachel St. John explores how this boundary changed from a mere line on a map to a clearly marked and heavily regulated divide between the United States and Mexico. Focusing on the desert border to the west of the Rio Grande, this book explains the origins of the modern border and places the line at the center of a transnational history of expanding capitalism and state power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Moving across local, regional, and national scales, St. John shows how government officials, Native American raiders, ranchers, railroad builders, miners, investors, immigrants, and smugglers contributed to the rise of state power on the border and developed strategies to navigate the increasingly regulated landscape. Over the border s history, the U.S. and Mexican states gradually developed an expanding array of official laws, ad hoc arrangements, government agents, and physical barriers that did not close the line, but made it a flexible barrier that restricted the movement of some people, goods, and animals without impeding others. By the 1930s, their efforts had created the foundations of the modern border control apparatus. Drawing on extensive research in U.S. and Mexican archives, Line in the Sand weaves together a transnational history of how an undistinguished strip of land became the significant and symbolic space of state power and national definition that we know today. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691156132

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Line in the Sand details the dramatic transformation of the western U.S.-Mexico border from its creation at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 to the emergence of the modern boundary line in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this sweeping narrative, Rachel St. John explores how this boundary changed from a mere line on a map to a clearly marked and heavily regulated divide between the United States and Mexico. Focusing on the desert border to the west of the Rio Grande, this book explains the origins of the modern border and places the line at the center of a transnational history of expanding capitalism and state power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Moving across local, regional, and national scales, St. John shows how government officials, Native American raiders, ranchers, railroad builders, miners, investors, immigrants, and smugglers contributed to the rise of state power on the border and developed strategies to navigate the increasingly regulated landscape. Over the border s history, the U.S. and Mexican states gradually developed an expanding array of official laws, ad hoc arrangements, government agents, and physical barriers that did not close the line, but made it a flexible barrier that restricted the movement of some people, goods, and animals without impeding others. By the 1930s, their efforts had created the foundations of the modern border control apparatus. Drawing on extensive research in U.S. and Mexican archives, Line in the Sand weaves together a transnational history of how an undistinguished strip of land became the significant and symbolic space of state power and national definition that we know today. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691156132

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