Unending Journeys

Few subjects arouse such atavistic emotions as migration—whether the arrivals come as conquerors or as kin, fleeing ordeals or seeking opportunities. For incomers, migration can represent a dream, a rational choice, an urgent necessity, or a last hope. For recipient countries, it can be an infusion of energy, a reunion, a social challenge, or an existential threat. By drawing parallels between today’s immigrations and earlier upheavals, Peter Gatrell seeks to prove that modern migration is a continuation of a generations-long process, just “another iteration” rather than a replacing revolution.

The author is an economist at Manchester University, and an historian of modern migration, with a special interest in Russia. As one might expect from a denizen of the city that produced economic reductionists like John Bright, Richard Cobden, and Friedrich Engels, as well as the leftist newspaper The Guardian, Gatrell believes economics are of prime importance in understanding human affairs. He’s also politically progressive, and has a moral code influenced by certain nonconformist strains of Christianity.

That being said, Gatrell writes well and with good faith. He handles statistics assuredly and evinces unfailing interest in even the most turgid academic analyses, or the provisions of some country’s long-scrapped immigration legislation. He has a highly-developed sense of duty in his research...

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