Migration is the most critical issue currently confronting the EU, threatening the survival of governments, fostering the rise of extreme right-wing parties and endangering the cohesion of the EU itself. In the UK, home to the ‘hostile environment’ encouraged by Theresa May as home secretary, it became the issue that ensured the victory of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum. Sporadic outbursts of violence continue to remind us of the tensions between migrants and locals across Europe. Annual arrivals have fallen drastically since the peak of one million in 2015, but there is no reason to suppose that the flow will stop.
Three very different books take us to the heart of the migration story. All reject the simplistic distinction between refugees and migrants, arguing persuasively that this has little meaning when we are confronted with the reality of those seeking to reach our shores. No one undertakes the odyssey lightly: bluntly,