Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here: The United States, Central America, and the Making of a Crisis by Jonathan Blitzer, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  A most timely book rated #1 for the history of U.S. immigration, public policy immigration, and the history of Central America. About a third of my forthcoming book focuses on immigration from Guatemala, making this a must-read. The immigration problem is growing exponentially around the world, and solutions are ignored for political benefit and expediency. President Biden’s executive order is designed to close the border, at least through elections. The only serious legislative reform created by both parties was abandoned by the Republicans, who blocked both legislation and funding, which could have diminished the crisis, once again, for political […]

Continue reading

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

Eighty-seven years after its publication, this book almost disappeared from the American public until it was finally appreciated and republished, becoming one of the enduring books of the twentieth century. The author’s fame reached its zenith in 1943 with a Saturday Review cover story. And yet seven years later, she would be serving as a maid in Rivo Alto, Florida, and ten years later, die in the St. Lucie County Welfare Home of “hypertensive heart disease.” She’d been buried in an unmarked grave in the segregated cemetery, Garden of Heavenly Rest, in Fort Pierce, Florida. Some consider this book a […]

Continue reading

Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration, by Aviva Chomsky, reviewed by Mark D. Walker

This book seemed a perfect follow-up to the Guatemalan Journey, one writer’s take on Guatemala. In contrast, this book provides a historical overview of some underlying causes of growing immigration to the U.S. Plus, one of my favorite authors, Todd Miller, who wrote Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, offered good reasons to read it, I have waited for Central America’s Forgotten History for the past decade. This thorough and thought-provoking book revives the history that has long been severed from the Central American experience in US discourse, especially around immigration. Chomsky demonstrates that you can’t divorce […]

Continue reading

One Writer’s Review of 2023, Million Mile Walker Dispatch, December 2023

Dear Colleagues and Fellow Writers from Around the World, Happy New Year, one and all! I like to sit down at the end of a year and focus on the highlights I want to build on for the coming year. I’ll also look at one of our country’s most crucial issues in Cultural Impact. My Writing and Reviews will include a few of my favorite books and a movie, a special section on Those We Lost, followed by Voices in Action, What Others Are Saying, and a Calendar update. 2023 represents my sixth year as a full-time writer, and this […]

Continue reading

Wind in the Elephant Tree by Earl Vincent de Berge, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  Earl de Berge’s third book of poetry is an Ode to his wife, Suzanne. Most poems are love poems or valentines to his life partner he met in college and married just after she graduated. This writer and photographer also shares memories of friends, scenes of his beloved Guatemala, aging, his legacy, and much more. I met Earl and his wife, Suzanne, several years ago over lunch in Phoenix, discussing fundraising strategies for “Seeds for a Future,” an NGO they set up in Guatemala, which provides training to impoverished rural women on the South Coast. I soon learned that […]

Continue reading

The Volcanoes Above Us by Norman Lewis, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

 I first heard about this book from a podcast, Personal Landscapes, by Ryan Murdock, who interviewed biographer Julian Evans, “Norman Lewis: The 20th Century’s Greatest Travel Writer.” This caught my attention because Norman Lewis wrote a book about Guatemala. The podcast reveals what made this author and this book special. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ri3-amHtYGs Lewis was brought up in a bizarre family situation and didn’t have access to the education or other advantages many of the travel writers of that period had. He had an instinct to be in the right place to capture traditional ways of life on the brink of modernity, […]

Continue reading

Wine Tasting in Cottonwood, Arizona & the Latest on the Guatemala Reader, Million Mile Walker Dispatch, October 2023

  Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, This month, Culture Watch will include a story of one vulnerable renter evicted illegally from her home.  My Writing and Reviews will focus on a gem of a book on Guatemala, as well as an update on my forthcoming book, plus a movie review. Voices in Action will include a provocative quote, a What Others Are Saying and the Calendar will be updated.   First, in the spirit of getting to know the desert and our adopted state of Arizona, here are a few photos of our wine-tasting tour of Cottonwood, […]

Continue reading

How To Hide An Empire: A History Of The Greater United States by David Immerwahr, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I first learned of this book through an interview with the author on Democracy Now, which I recommend watching before or after you’ve read the book. The book is basically about two maps—one that we’ve been taught in school and another that has been ignored and rarely discussed. The term “empire” applies to other countries but rarely to the United States. Most Americans see their country as a republic born from revolution and, therefore, hostile to imperial rule, but that’s not the case, and therein lies the story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=RvlUGYvLg0s   The map we’re familiar with is of the contiguous […]

Continue reading

Elites & Inequality: the Path to Political Disintegration & the Guatemala Reader, Million Mile Walker Dispatch, September 2023 Issue

Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, This month, I’ll provide an update on my forthcoming book, The Guatemala Reader, and the situation with the Presidential election there.  In Culture Watch, we’ll look at the impact of the growth of elites and inequality in the U.S. My Writing and Reviews will include the latest book and movie reviews. Voices in Action will include a provocative quote, and the Calendar will be updated. The Guatemala Reader: I’ve decided to self-publish to preserve the 20 essays and include photographs, a map, a bibliography, and an updated version of “Democracy in Crisis.” […]

Continue reading

Guatemalan Journey by Stephen Connely Benz, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I was introduced to the author by his agent, who sent me another book of his, Topographies, to review. A stellar collection of travel essays that take the reader through places as diverse as rural Wyoming, the Florida Everglades, and a train ride across the border from Romania to the former Soviet Union. https://millionmilewalker.com/2020/06/book-review-non-fiction-topographies/ While researching my forthcoming book, The Guatemala Reader, I was delighted to learn that he’d written a book similar to this entitled Guatemalan Journey. Identical to my Peace Corps experience there, he spent two years as a Fulbright Scholar doing the day-to-day activities and dealing with […]

Continue reading