A striking characteristic of modern Europe has been the extreme fluidity of its populations. Whether through war, state policy or a spontaneous personal decision, millions of people have been on the move. Whether trying to escape danger or to find a better life, whether moving from the countryside to the city, or between countries, or from outside Europe altogether, migrants have stood at the heart of the continent's experience.
Peter Gatrell's powerful new book is the first which brings together all these stories into one place. He creates a compelling narrative bracketed by two nightmarish periods- the great convulsions that followed from the final defeat 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 (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 which makes the reader deeply aware of the many extraordinary journeys taken by countless individuals in pursuit of work, safety and dignity, all the time.