- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 21, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393078019
- ISBN-13: 978-0393078015
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World 1st Edition
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“Erudite and exciting, Zahra’s book recounts how enormous numbers of eastern Europeans migrated to the Americas between the mid-1800s and the second world war. In a work with obvious resonance for our times, Zahra . . . combines analytical depth with an impressive breadth of personal human stories.”
- Tony Barber, Financial Times
“A perceptive history of migration and eastern Europe.”
“Provocative….[Zahra] has uncovered a narrative that is complex, multifaceted.”
- Julia M. Klein, Chicago Tribune
“Zahra handles this immensely complicated and multidimensional history with remarkable clarity and feeling.”
- Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs
“A significant work of social history bound to please serious readers and scholars. ”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“[An] absorbing and comprehensive history.”
- Library Journal
“In this riveting book, Tara Zahra takes the story of immigration that Americans know so well and weaves it into a larger story of emigration that we have long neglected. Full of hope and promise, of desperation and tragedy, it is perhaps the most important story of the twentieth century. With all the drama of a novel and all the nuance of history writing at its best, The Great Departure is a must-read.”
- Alison Johnson, Harvard University
“In this spare, deeply researched, and unfailingly analytical book, Tara Zahra frees the great migration of Eastern Europeans to the West from romantic myth and dissects all its human and moral complexities.”
- Robert D. Kaplan, of In Europe’s Shadow: A Journey Through Two Cold Wars in Romania and Beyond
About the Author
Tara Zahra is a professor of modern European history at the University of Chicago and a recent winner of the MacArthur Fellowship. She is the author of two award-winning books, Kidnapped Souls and The Lost Children. Zahra lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Top customer reviews
Zahra reveals a plethora of patterns in emigration policies among European and North American states that emerge in the late nineteenth century and continue to this day. The patterns include ideas on mobility and freedom, state control of emigration as a means to achieve political goals, the influence of mercantilist ideas, using ethnic groups as scapegoats, and the adjustment of policies in order to encourage the immigration of preferred migrants. One of the more interesting patterns is the conflicting view between Eastern and Western powers on what freedom is. To Western states, freedom was inextricably tied to mobility, and was increasingly considered a “human right,” whereas Eastern states “sought to protect the ‘freedom’ of citizens by keeping them at home” (55, 246).
Initially, emigration was seen as a major problem for government. Mercantilist philosophies that valued the population as a source of economic and political power, left governments fearful (9). Attempts, such as the trial of Jewish travel agents in 1889, were made to stop the mass exodus of people (23-24). As it became clear that states could not halt emigration entirely, they began to take a more opportunistic approach by utilizing emigration as a means to serve their goals. Zahra points out that “emigration came to be seen as a potential solution to various social and political problems,” which resulted with several European states developing strategies aimed at encouraging or forcing “undesirable” or “surplus” citizens to leave (10). Some states achieved this through the establishment of penal colonies, while others gave in to rising nationalist trends by attempting to homogenize their population. Ironically, this effort at homogeneity had the side-effect of endowing marginalized communities with increased mobility, and therefore, at least in some sense, increased freedoms (10, 17). In summary, Zahra’s The Great Departure is a masterful examination of the patterns of emigration in the modern age.
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