The Devil’s Highway

One of the surviving Wellton 26, described by Urrea as a “natural leader.” Nahum’s testimony is frequently invoked throughout the pages of The Devil’s Highway, and, as a survivor, he was instrumental in helping officials identify the bodies of the Yuma 14. Following his rescue, Nahum, along with the other survivors, agreed to provide testimony on the condition that they would be granted immunity. Thus, Nahum and his relatives were able to stay in Phoenix, and were given jobs in a refrigerated meatpacking factory so that they “would never have to work in the hot sun.”

Nahum Landa Quotes in The Devil’s Highway

The The Devil’s Highway quotes below are all either spoken by Nahum Landa or refer to Nahum Landa. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Desolation and Desperation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown and Company edition of The Devil’s Highway published in 2004.
Chapter 15 Quotes

The survivors were suddenly paid professional narrators. At the beginning of their federal jobs, they were paid in room and board. They got cheap shoes and pants. T-shirts. As they sang, they learned they could get job advancement. Even a substantial raise. Like all good bards, they embellished and expanded their narratives. As long as they told their stories, they stayed. As long as they stayed, they had a chance to stay longer. Soon, they would surely earn money. It was the new millennium’s edition of the American Dream.

Related Characters: Luís Alberto Urrea (speaker), Nahum Landa
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

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Nahum Landa Character Timeline in The Devil’s Highway

The timeline below shows where the character Nahum Landa appears in The Devil’s Highway. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: In Veracruz
Desolation and Desperation Theme Icon
Humanity and “Illegality” Theme Icon
Bearing Witness Theme Icon
...the trip with his son, but signed them both up with Don Moi nonetheless. Meanwhile, Nahum Landa, Reymundo Sr.’s brother-in-law, also signed up—they were family, and they would look out for... (full context)
Chapter 11: Their Names
Desolation and Desperation Theme Icon
Humanity and “Illegality” Theme Icon
Bearing Witness Theme Icon
Nahum Landa Ortiz brought many relatives with him. Oritz’s nephew, José Antonio Bautista, would later describe... (full context)
Chapter 15: Aftermath
Humanity and “Illegality” Theme Icon
Bearing Witness Theme Icon
...are uncertain of what they should say—and some are still acting insane from the walk. Nahum identifies Mendez, “the guy with the rooster hair,” as the pollero who abandoned them, despite... (full context)
Chapter 16: Home
Humanity and “Illegality” Theme Icon
Bearing Witness Theme Icon
The survivors stick together and demand immunity in exchange for their testimony. Nahum and his relatives are able to stay in Phoenix, and are given an apartment and... (full context)