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The Beast
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About the Author

Oscar Martinez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America. The original edition of his book Los migrantes que no importan was published in 2010 by Icaria and El Faro, with a second edition by Mexico's sur+ Ediciones in 2012. Martinez is currently writing chronicles and articles for El Faro's project, Sala Negra, investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martinez won the Fernando Benitez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the Jose Simeon Canas Central American University in El Salvador.

Reviews

"The graceful, incisive writing lifts "The Beast" from being merely an impressive feat of reportage into the realm of literature. Mr. Martinez has produced something that is an honorable successor to enduring works like George Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier" or Jacob Riis's "How the Other Half Lives." - Larry Rohter, New York Times "The most extraordinary (and harrowing) book I read this year was Oscar Martinez's The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail. This is a bravura act of frontline reporting that tracks the horror passage that many immigrants must survive (and some don't) to reach the US from the south. These immigrants are preyed on by everyone and yet they cling to hope like they cling to the trains that will bring some of them to what they pray will be better lives. Beautiful and searing and impossible to put down." - Junot Diaz, Financial Times, Books of 2013 "To understand the dramatic realities faced by the migrants who flee northwards to find work in the United States, Oscar Martinez literally jumped trains and dodged killers. He deserves praise not only for his efforts, and for what he writes about, but because he writes so very well." - Jon Lee Anderson, staff reporter for the New Yorker "Martinez's unrelenting drive as a reporter anchors the stories he tells with gritty detail and an immersive knowledge of his subject matter, but it is this combined with his poet's eye which makes reading The Beast such a vivid, devastating experience." - Los Angeles Review of Books "Oscar Martinez is a journalist of uncommon bravery and a writer of prodigious talent. The Beast is a powerful, necessary book, one of the finest pieces of journalism to emerge from Latin America in years." - Daniel Alarcon, author of At Night We Walk in Circles "A heartbreaking book about the world's most invisible people. A revelatory work of love and hair-raising courage." - Alma Guillermoprieto, Latin America correspondent for the New York Review of Books, author of Dancing with Cuba "The Beast is extraordinary, first, for the courage that Martinez summoned to write it; and, second, for the hidden lives he reveals. No other writer has got this close to a migration that Amnesty International estimates left 70,000 unaccounted for between 2006 and 2012. Read together, the vivid personal stories told here have the force of a novel, the bravery of the migrants holding up a terrible mirror to the gang violence of Central America, the grotesque institutional breakdown of backcountry Mexico, and the callousness of the US, which once fanned civil wars in Central America and now turns its back on the problems those conflicts helped create. Yet if Martinez feels anger, he does not show it. Instead, his precise, empathetic and often poetic language summons rage and pity but also admiration in the reader." - John Paul Rathbone, Financial Times "The world that Oscar Martinez, a Salvadoran journalist, set out to report on five years ago is so violent, depraved and hellish, you can hardly believe he survived to tell the tale... rugged prose, beautifully translated." - The Economist "Martinez's writing is eloquent, gritty, and incisive, embedded in vividly observed detail ..." - New York Journal of Books "Oscar Martinez is one of the bravest writers in Latin America, if not the world. He's also one of the best... he has crafted a portrait of the hellish conditions and dangers for those dreaming of a better life. For such devastating subject matter, it's a fluent, humane, readable book, and one of the most capital-I important, capital-I inspiring released this year... an essential piece of writing about some of the hardest and most hopeful young people on earth" - Charlie Robin Jones, Dazed & Confused "This searing account of the hardships suffered by Central American migrants headed through Mexico to the United States comes from true shoe-leather reporting." - Publisher's Weekly "The statistics are terrifying. Amnesty International recently estimated that as many as 70,000 undocumented migrants went missing in Mexico between 2006 and 2012. An estimated 80 per cent of migrant women are raped on the journey. Martinez - who faces untold dangers as a reporter - gets beyond these numbers with skill and subtlety. He tells the stories of individuals with names, ages, faces, families, for whom migration is a matter of life and death." - Independent " - Martinez's debut is the hard-won result of immersive journalism." - Kirkus Reviews "A remarkable book... war reporting of the finest order. 5 stars." - Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday "Oscar Martinez has written a gale-force book, a sweep across the equally daunting criminal and physical landscapes from the vantage point of those at the war's coalface: Central American migrants crossing Mexico by train, road and on foot through scrub and desert, chasing the phantasmagoria of America, such is the misery or danger back home... Martinez is clearly a wonderful listener - journalism's rarest and most important attribute - and this makes his prose resound with raw authenticity." - Ed Vulliamy, The Observer "Drawing on eight trips accompanying illegal migrants from Central America across the border into the United States. Oscar Martinez, a Salvadoran journalist, does a beautiful job describing a world that is hellish, violent and depraved." - The Economist, Books of 2013 "An extraordinary account of Central American migration to the US" New York Times Book Review

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