Wednesday, 7:30 pm EDT July 22, 2020
Journalist DW Gibson will discuss his book 14 Miles: Building the Border Wall, which takes us to the ecosystem surrounding the fourteen completed miles of Trump’s border wall in San Diego County, with writer Luis Alberto Urrea.
In 2017, when the Department of Homeland Security announced an open call for prototypes for Trump’s border wall, DW Gibson, an award-winning journalist and Southern California native, began visiting the construction site and watching as the samples were erected. Gibson spent those two years closely observing the work and interviewing local residents to understand how it was impacting them.
“Page-turning, often tense…mind-expanding…Gibson portrays the varied humanity on both sides with journalistic integrity and readable prose.” —Kirkus Reviews
DW Gibson is the author of the award-winning book The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century and Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. He shared a National Magazine Award for his work on an oral history of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Village Voice, and the Caravan. Gibson is a contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a frequent guest host for WNYC programming. He is the author of 14 Miles. Find out more and listen to clips of DW on the radio at DWGibson.net
Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonfiction The Devil’s Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea is also the bestselling author of the novels The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and Queen of America, as well as the story collection The Water Museum, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist.
He has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among many other honors. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he lives outside of Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
14 Miles: Building the Border Wall
By DW Gibson
Published by Simon & Schuster
In August of 2019, Donald Trump finished building his border wall–at least a portion of it. In San Diego, the Army Corps of engineers completed two years of construction on a 14-mile steel beamed barrier that extends eighteen-feet high and cost a staggering $147 million. As one border patrol agent told reporters visiting the site, “It was funded and approved and it was built under his administration. It is Trump’s wall.” 14 Miles is a definitive account of all the dramatic construction, showing readers what it feels like to stand on both sides of the border looking up at the imposing and controversial barrier.
After the Department of Homeland Security announced an open call for wall prototypes in 2017, DW Gibson, an award-winning journalist and Southern California native, began visiting the construction site and watching as the prototype samples were erected. Gibson spent those two years closely observing the work and interviewing local residents to understand how it was impacting them. These include April McKee, a border patrol agent leading a recruiting program that trains teenagers to work as agents; Jeff Schwilk, a retired Marine who organizes pro-wall rallies as head of the group San Diegans for Secure Borders; Roque De La Fuente, an eccentric millionaire developer who uses the construction as a promotional opportunity; and Civile Ephedouard, a Haitian refugee who spent two years migrating through Central America to the United States and anxiously awaits the results of his asylum case.
Fascinating, propulsive, and incredibly timely, 14 Miles is an important work that explains not only how the wall has reshaped our landscape and countless lives but also how its shadow looms over our very identity as a nation.
About this series
Our On America series brings writers, journalists, activists, and change-makers together to reflect on the critical issues of our times. Who are we and who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation? Will we rise to the challenges we face?
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