What We Are Reading Today: The Outsiders: Refugees in Europe since 1492

Short Url
Updated 19 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Outsiders: Refugees in Europe since 1492

Author: Philipp Ther

European history has been permeated with refugees. The Outsiders chronicles every major refugee movement since 1492, when the Catholic rulers of Spain set in motion the first mass flight and expulsion in modern European history.
Philipp Ther provides needed perspective on today’s “refugee crisis,” demonstrating how Europe has taken in far greater numbers of refugees in earlier periods of its history,  in wartime as well as peacetime. His sweeping narrative crosses the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, taking readers from the Middle East to the shores of America.
In this compelling book, Ther examines the major causes of mass flight, from religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing to political persecution and war. He describes the perils and traumas of flight and explains why refugees and asylum seekers have been welcomed in some periods—such as during the Cold War — and why they are rejected in times such as our own.


What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

Updated 31 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

The Cubans from Anthony DePalma, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times,  is a must-read for anyone interested in Latin America, say critics.

“In his thoroughly researched and reported book, replete with human detail and probing insight, DePalma renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see,” said Marie Arana in a review for  The New York Times.

DePalma burrows deep into one enclave of Havana, the historic borough of Guanabacoa, some three miles southeast of the capital.

“Lying across the famous harbor from the city center, Guanabacoa is close enough to have ties to Havana’s businesses, politics and culture,” he writes.

“Yet it operates at its own speed, with its own idiosyncrasies and an overriding sense, as one Cuban told me, of ‘geographic fatalism’ that comes from being so close to the capital, yet so very hard to reach from there.”

The book sadly leaves scant hope that anything will change in Cuba in the foreseeable future, but is testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Cuban people.