Reaction Weekend

The Unsettling of Europe review – how migration reshaped a continent

Peter Gatrell's The Unsettling of Europe - The Great Migration, 1945 to the Present does something remarkable – it turns the weighty and fractious subject of migration into a thrilling read

BY William Atkinson   /  4 October 2019

The old cliché that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes isn’t true – sometimes it sounds exactly the same. Early on in this fascinating and timely new history we hear from Austrians complaining about the strains put on their country by Hungarian refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion in 1956. We’re told they were increasingly labelled as “economic migrants rather than political refugees…a ‘flood’ that threatened to ‘inundate’ Austria”. The echoes with Salvini, Le Pen and “Breaking Point” posters aren’t hard to spot.

The Unsettling of Europe does something remarkable – it turns the weighty and fractious subject of migration into a read that’s both thrilling and


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