The Unsettling of Europe
WINNER OF THE LAURA SHANNON PRIZE 2021
SHORTLISTED FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE 2020
A TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
Migrants have stood at the heart of modern Europe’s experience, whether trying to escape danger, to find a better life or as a result of deliberate policy, whether moving from the countryside to the city, or between countries, or from outside the continent altogether.
Peter Gatrell’s powerful new book is the first to bring these stories together into one place. He creates a compelling narrative bracketed by two nightmarish periods: the great convulsions following the fall of the Third Reich and the mass attempts in the 2010s by migrants to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
The Unsettling of Europe is a new history of the continent, charting the ever-changing arguments about the desirability or otherwise of migrants and their central role in Europe’s post-1945 prosperity. Gatrell is as fascinating on the giant movements of millions (such as the epic waves of German migration) to that of much smaller groups, such as the Karelians, Armenians, Moluccans or Ugandan Asians. Above all he has written a book that makes the reader deeply aware of the many extraordinary journeys taken by countless individuals in pursuit of work, safety and dignity, all the time.
This is a landmark book on a subject that, decade by decade, will always haunt Europe.
‘Peter Gatrell has produced a tour de force … This important and timely work on one of the most challenging issues in modern Europe deserves to be widely read’ Ian Kershaw
With migration often characterized as a new and threatening 'crisis' in Europe, acclaimed historian Peter Gatrell recasts the history of postwar Europe as a history of migration ... This timely and must-read book offers valuable lessons from the past as well as new ways to understand just what is at stake in the debate over immigration today. -- Erika Lee, author of The Making of Asian America The Unsettling of Europe is an immense achievement ... The range and the quality of scholarship are magnificent. But more than that, this is an optimistic and deeply humane book, qualities found all too rarely in our time. -- Randall Hansen, Canada Research Chair in Global Migration, University of Toronto Timely and ambitious ... Gatrell [offers a] nuanced and sympathetic treatment of the variety of the immigrant experience - and its impact on European societies. -- Jonathan Portes * The Observer * Gatrell's historical long view provides a valuable reminder of what Europe went through after 1945 ... These now-distant events have every right to a place in the history books, and Gatrell has done us a service in chronicling them so engagingly. -- Paul Morland * Financial Times * The Unsettling of Europe is a positive and sympathetic book that seeks to rebalance the conversation. It is a bold, meticulously researched and frequently compelling account ... Readers are taken on a fascinating, albeit troubling journey through the moments and revolutions that shaped postwar Europe. -- Matthew Goodwin * The Sunday Times * Gatrell's eye for detail and sensitivity make this a compelling account that challenges the "us" and "them" framing into which much discussion of migration is forced. Its great strength is that it treats the emotional and cultural aspects of the subject with as much respect as the historical facts and figures. -- Daniel Trilling * The Guardian * A calmly humanist history ... Surprisingly, I was left feeling optimistic - by Gatrell's informed vision of an unstoppably interconnected world, unsettled, not by migration but by inequality, yet full of possibilities, provided we have the courage to own our history. -- Kapka Kassabova * The Spectator * The Unsettling of Europe is a definitive book in which Peter Gatrell proves that 'what we used to have' is a chimerical idea ... A clearly written and essential history. -- David Aaronovitch * The Times * Excellent ... an absorbing and highly readable narrative that ought to be required reading for anyone concerned with modern migration, and not just in Europe either. -- Richard Evans * BBC History * A meticulously researched and documented survey ... Gatrell's closely focused studies help us to see this set of issues as illuminating some much wider questions about the way we live now. -- Rowan Williams * New Statesman * Peter Gatrell has produced a tour de force ... This important and timely work on one of the most challenging issues in modern Europe deserves to be widely read. -- Ian Kershaw
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