This essay by Sonia Saldivar-Hull was added in the second edition of Borderlands. It is helpful in explaining some things that might not be obvious to the reader, and it provides an overview of the book. But it is rather academic--and if you want the most authentic experience of the book, you might want to start reading, then come back to the Introduction later. To find out more about Saldivar-Hull, visit her faculty page at the University of Texas San Antonio.
In her brief original introduction, Anzaldúa gives the reader exactly the right "clues" to the world of the book: where she came from, why she is writing, what she loves, and the importance of language. She mentions one of the images that will occur often in the book: Ehécatl, the wind. The image on the cover of both editions (created by Pamela Wilson) is called "Ehécatl." It also appears on a new anniversary edition brought out by Aunt Lute in 2009.
The first lines of Chapter 1 are lyrics from a song by Los Tigres del Norte, a conjunto band. Conjunto is a style of music played mainly in Texas and California by small groups like the one shown in this picture. A conjunto group typically include an accordion, drums, and a 12-string guitar. You can see a video on traditional conjunto made by the PBS station WBGU.
Listen on Spotify:
This key paragraph describes the border as a place "where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds." Anzaldúa uses graphic imagery to convey the unhealing ugliness that is created by the border. This video by ThirdWorldThirdSpace shows a two-minute drive along a stretch of border wall, accompanied by a reading from Anzaldúa's preface to Borderlands.