Rachel St John Line In The Sand Summary

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In Rachel St. John’s book, “Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border,” the author offers up “a history of how and why the border changed” (St. John 1). This is her central thesis that she presents, providing evidence and historical context concerning the border and its changes over the course of the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. In seven chapters plus and introduction providing more general information and a conclusion that brings the U.S.-Mexico border situation into the present day, Rachel St. John’s focus is both periodical and geographical. St. John moves across both space and time in her book, looking at how region and era affected the border situation and how these effects differed in significance. St. John takes …show more content…

John’s book, like all others, holds various strengths and weaknesses. Largely, St. John’s thesis is supported by offering a varying look at the borderlands throughout multiple decades and discussing the progression of change as it occurred across eras and regions. St. John provides interesting historical details that would otherwise probably not be known to the reader, such as her statement in the Introduction that the desert border running from west of El Paso to the Pacific Ocean did not conform to any previously existing geographic features. This fact, like others provided in “Line in the Sand,” might not seem interesting but indeed is in the sense that it forces the reader to consider it and to contextualize it based on what the reader knows of the border. For example, reading this fact, I was forced to contemplate how the border boundary was formed west of Texas and how the line that is in place to day came to be. In Texas, the Rio Grande provides an easy natural barrier, but to the west, there were no rivers marking boundaries or any formation that could be used to create a border line. It was interesting to me to learn more about how the western part of the border was drawn, and this process of interesting quote and contemplation occurred various times while reading. To be able to connect with your reader and force them to consider things they might not have considered before is definitely a strength of St. John’s …show more content…

John’s book is that I, personally, would like to see the history carried over more into more modern eras. While St. John’s focus may have been from around 1850 to 1940, a look at regional and era-based changes and differences along the border would be interesting to see from the 1950s to the modern day as well. While the book would indeed be much longer, it would be helpful as a modern citizen of the borderlands to look at the more recent changes along the border and what caused them in order to give context to the border situation today. While the present and recent decades are mentioned in the Conclusion, a more complex look at the situation today and in previous decades might provide an even clearer image of the border and give those living in these lands today more perspective and understanding as to what has occurred and is currently occurring. The border will always be an issue of contention and learning more about it will help citizens better understand the situation and its history, past and

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