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Cast Away: Stories of Survival from Europe's Refugee Crisis Paperback – 5 May 2016
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'McDonald-Gibson's gripping storytelling has a cinematic quality... At times it's easy to forget that these are experiences of real people, not fictional characters, as the reader becomes immersed in harrowing stories of danger, deception and disillusionment. But McDonald-Gibson also balances individual stories with a wider historical sweep [and] offers insights into the extraordinary political and historical contexts of the migrants' home countries... [One of] the most important books you will read this year' -- Irish Times
'McDonald-Gibson's compilation is both timely and a cause for serious concern... Her book re-humanises individuals who are often treated as statistics, if not demonised [and] provide[s] an invaluable reminder that most migrants are people not so very different from us'-- International Business Times
'A closely reported, passionately argued, often deeply moving account of five refugees' journeys to Europe. The unapologetically narrative style creates an effect similar to that of the photograph of the corpse of three year old Alan Kurdi in his red T shirt in 2015. It yanks away the anonymous screen of numbers and brings you face to face with real people - people you can recognise, in situations you can't. [Cast Away] start[s] to do for the refugees what British abolitionists did for the slave trade... mobilise eyewitness testimony to promote empathy, and through empathy, better policy' -- Guardian
'McDonald-Gibson keenly evokes the hell of their voyages... To read these vivid stories is to understand not just the enormity of what is taking place, but the courage and desperation of those who embark on them' --New Statesman
'This book returns humanity to those who have been consistently dehumanised across our continent. These are powerful and necessary accounts of resilience in the face of the most chilling and desperate of situations. A must read for any person who truly wants to understand the motivations of those who flee and the refugee crisis as a whole' -- Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats
'Galvanizing and deeply compassionate, these true tales of the European refugee crisis focus on the riveting stories of the exiles themselves' -- Oprah.com
'[T]his stirring contemporary account roots the mythic perilous journey of the heartbreak of personal stories' -- Booklist
'Skilfully weaving together the tragic stories of her subjects, McDonald-Gibson successfully humanizes them and provides readers a much-needed inside look at a significant problem. A powerfully written, well-documents account of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions' -- Kirkus Reviews (starred)
'Well-composed and well-researched, with the satisfaction of human interest stories, this title belongs in all collections for its timeline and historical and political significance' -- Library Journal
'Searing tales of courage, hardship and survival that reveal the terrible human cost of Europe's dystopian borders. A tour-de-force of committed investigative reporting' --Matthew Carr, author of Fortress Europe
'This book is a remarkably well documented and vivid account of why and how people are on the move towards Europe: their fears, their hopes, their despair and their resilience are clearly illustrated and, instead of the usual statistics, human faces appear, with whom we can identify. It is also an indictment of the European Union and its member states, as they have proven utterly unable to provide a principled and efficient response to such migration movements. From the deals between Ghaddafi and Berlusconi to the tragedies in the Aegean sea, from the terrible logic of the Dublin Regulation to the razor-wire barriers in Ceuta and Hungary, from detention camps to life on the road in the European countryside, the lack of long-term vision and the indifference to human suffering are astounding. Ultimately, McDonald-Gibson's book is a call for moral clarity and political leadership in responding to the threats, fantasies and stereotypes of the rising nationalist populist movements' -- Francois Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
'This is a fascinating and necessary book about one of the great tragedies of our age as people flee failed and failing states in pursuit of a safe and normal life. It is essential reading for anybody interested in the individuals taking part in this mass flight and why they feel they have no choice but to escape' -- Patrick Cockburn, author of The Rise of Islamic State
'This is a book which needed to be written and stories which needed to be told. Bravo' -- Alex Crawford, Sky News Special Correspondent and author of Colonel Gaddafi's Hat
'We have digested the refugee crisis in its scary statistics, its shocking images, and in the xenophobic reactions it has provoked inside Europe. But in Cast Away we discover the human reality of the biggest crisis of our times as it is experienced by the individuals concerned, in all the painful particularity of their individual lives, reported and narrated with vigour and compassion' --Peter Popham, author of The Lady and the Peacock and The Lady and the Generals
About the Author
CHARLOTTE MCDONALD-GIBSON has worked as a foreign correspondent for 14 years, reporting from three continents for the international media. From 2011 to 2013 she was Deputy Foreign Editor of the Independent, overseeing the paper's coverage of key world news events including the Arab Spring. Now based in Brussels, she writes about Europe for the Independent, TIME, and other publications. This is her first book.
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on 9 June 2016
This is a gripping book which I read in one sitting. It told of harrowing tales of people fleeing from war, terror and injustice that at times made one weep. And throughout it I kept on thinking back to the line the author wrote: how since the 1990s 'the spirit of solidarity that had united Europe after the Second World War had been replaced by individualistic societies driven by the pursuit of economic growth.' If only we could return to that spirit! This is a beautifully written book with a skilful mix of human stories, EU legislation and the varied response to the refugee crisis from countries. For those interested in trying to understand this crisis, it is a valuable contribution. For anyone who cares about his fellow man, it is a compulsive read.
on 28 May 2016
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A compelling and powerful book beautifully written and well researched. We follow the real human stories of people seeking refuge and the opportunity to lead a normal life, their desperate journeys sometimes literally into the heart of darkness. There is a damning indictment of Europes immoral and inadequate response to the refugee crisis. Buy this book if you want to get past the myths and stereotypes which have been constructed around people seeking refuge.
on 9 June 2016
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A powerfully written account of the struggles via the voices of the refugees. Deeply moving, thought provoking, and emotional. Clearly, intelligently, and respectfully portrayed; through the eyes of the victims. Highly recommended.
on 7 February 2017
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
How much of the problems we encounter today is due to the simple fact that most of us have never met a refugee, talked to them, heard their story and encountered them as real people like us. This book does a great service in helping us meet people and listens to them tell their stories, of why they left home, the terrible journeys that they have endured and their treatment on arrival in Europe. I hope that this book is widely read as the reader can not but feel sympathy for what they have suffered.