RaveThe Guardian (UK)... a deeply researched and counterintuitive history that much received wisdom about migration—human or otherwise—rests on a series of misconceptions ... Shah’s tone is neither smug nor triumphalist. She is clear about the power and the danger of xenophobic politics, tracing the anti-refugee backlash that has been mobilised by the right, as well as the threat to our lives posed by the climate emergency. Hers is an optimistic book nonetheless, because it tells us that this is just the latest chapter in a long story of survival and adaptation ... This is a vivid and engaging story that weaves in the accounts of refugees Shah has met to illustrate the harm done by today’s border controls. As a writer, she has an eye for the visual metaphor, likening anti-immigration arguments to puffball mushrooms ... Those arguments may indeed be hollow but they spread their spores nonetheless: we need books such as this to expose them.
PanThe London Review of Books... the further [Kaufmann] moves away from the data, the more his argument is undermined by the contradictory assumptions on which it is based ... Why is it that fears of white decline seem to have the greatest political power in countries such as Hungary and Poland where the immigration levels are negligible? If we’re really talking about whiteness as a shared identity, isn’t it shared in Southern and Eastern Europe too? Why are these regions any less worthy of consideration? ... Ethnicity in this context seems a euphemism for race rather than an alternative to it. The feeling grows stronger the further you get into Whiteshift, because despite Kaufmann’s opening declaration that whiteness should be considered an ethnic identity, he keeps sliding back into talking about race ... It is striking in [this] book just how little immigrants or minority ethnic groups feature as people. They are liquid quantities, to be allowed to flow or stoppered up as required; or they are potential threats to be neutralised or tolerated. Kaufmann fails to see the danger in what [he is] proposing ... close[s] off any possibility that the prevailing order might be challenged by people coming together in their difference to work towards common goals. Unless we can move beyond arguments like [his], sooner or later we will come to realise that the walls we build to defend ourselves are the walls of a prison.