All the Agents and Saints

Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands 

University of North Carolina Press
July 2017
 
After a decade of chasing stories around the globe, intrepid travel writer Stephanie Elizondo Griest followed the magnetic pull home–only to discover that her native South Texas had been radically transformed in her absence. Ravaged by drug wars and barricaded by an eighteen-foot steel wall, her ancestral land had become the nation’s foremost crossing ground for undocumented workers, many of whom perished along the way. Before Elizondo Griest moved to the New York/Canada borderlands, the frequency of these tragedies seemed like a terrible coincidence. Once she began to meet Mohawks from the Akwesasne Nation, however, she recognized striking parallels to life on the southern border. Having lost their land through devious treaties, their mother tongues at English-only schools, and their traditional occupations through capitalist ventures, Tejanos and Mohawks alike struggle under the legacy of colonialism. Toxic industries surround their neighborhoods while the U.S. Border Patrol militarizes them. Combating these forces are legions of artists and activists devoted to preserving their indigenous cultures. Complex belief systems, meanwhile, conjure miracles. In ALL THE AGENTS AND SAINTS, Elizondo Griest weaves seven years of stories into a meditation on the existential impact of international borderlines by illuminating the spaces in between.

Elizondo-Griest travels fearlessly and openly, compelling us to face the realities of the leaking wound at the borders between the US, Mexico, and Canada.  We see their physical boundaries, their artistic reinventions, their scanner-eyed objectifying patrols, and their borderlands people, most of all. What makes these dispatches worthy are their humanity and brutal power.  A blazing, page-turning, groundbreaking, soul-illuminating book. 
–Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States

Stephanie Elizondo Griest complicates everything we think we know about immigration, migration and life on a border — where survival and legacy intersect with race, policy and the unearthly divine. Griest writes with such elegance and authenticity that she’ll make you understand how arbitrary borders meant to divide people, cultures, governments, and even ideas can sometimes be the very place we find each other. A luminous and urgent story.  
-Rachel Louise Snyder, author of Fugitive Denim and What We’ve Lost is Nothing 

All the Agents and Saints is a beautiful book that takes us into the world of contemporary borderlands in a way that both breaks the heart and heals it. Only a seasoned travel writer like Stephanie Elizondo Griest could succeed so wonderfully in turning a journey to both the northern and southern borders of the United States into a profound meditation on the meaning of home and homecoming in an age of unprecedented global displacement. A stunning book with an urgent message of peace for our times.
-Ruth Behar, author of Traveling Heavy

Stephanie Elizondo Griest takes the reader with her on an exploratory journey that examines the histories and lifestyles within the Borderlands. Her stories are colorful, descriptive, and it’s refreshing to see a writer mingle and indeed become engaged within our community as an independent third party.
-Chief Brian David, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Watch these pages for more updates about ALL THE AGENTS AND SAINTS as it draws closer to publication (July 10, 2017).

Watch these pages for more updates about ALL THE AGENTS AND SAINTS as it draws closer to publication (July 10, 2017).

Watch these pages for more updates about ALL THE AGENTS AND SAINTS as it draws closer to publication (July 10, 2017).