Matthew Carr's brave, shocking and meticulously researched book deserves to be far more widely know, read and discussed; as boats of migrants founder in the Mediterranean almost daily, Carr's book analyses the laws and processes that ensures such horrors and reveals the unpalatable truth about Europe's deadly migration politics. When too many words are wasted on works that worry away at migration, this one reveals what drives it, what makes it lethal and who suffers as a consequence. But despite its grim subject matter, this is a hopeful book as it also reveals the brave and compassionate work of groups across the continent who try and alleviate the difficulties of migrants and refuse to shut their doors and hearts. Carr's trenchant prose and controlled anger give the work a terrific energy and the policy is always traced back to actual places - Greece, Malta, Lampedusa, Calais, Brescia, Dover - where our double-think on this issue truly plays out. These days too many books are written from the safety of the library - Carr's book takes us to the heart of things and never wavers in its devastating critique. Essential reading.
After reading Carr's two most recent books on the history of terrorism and the purge of Muslim Spain, I was eagerly looking forward to Fortress Europe. My expectations were fulfilled - it is a brilliant, richly informative, thought-provoking read. Carr takes us right across the continent, foregrounding a variety of voices, from migrants and refugees to politicians, and from human rights campaigners to border guards.
Fortress Europe stands out from other works on the same subject by its depth, building to its beautifully crafted finale in which Carr shows how borders are also bridges, because it is there that 'linguistic, religious and ethnic categories merge.' Journalist by profession, Carr is a historian at heart. His book broadens our horizons by reminding us that it is in the borderlands and not the borders, that our future lies. Exceptional!
I found this book absolutely fascinating. Carr weaves the legal complexities and historical development of immigration in with the powerful human tragedy at the centre of all the rhetoric. His greatest skill is in bringing these personal stories to life with a host of colourful and moving characters, making the reader visualise a situation they could hitherto have never imagined. Fortress Europe is informative, immensely readable and above all a moving account of immigration in Europe set against a backdrop of global developments, political point scoring and changing attitudes towards nationhood and borders.