...a critical assessment of Europe’s role in the global refugee crisis ... Kingsley has offered up a fiercely convincing, exasperated work that urges understanding the obvious ... By pulling together a continuous, clear narrative, intercut with political analysis, Kingsley’s book has the potential to deliver a worthwhile political intervention. At a moment when Europe and the United States are showing their isolationist, protectionist colors, The New Odyssey exposes the subsequent human cost. Kingsley’s work gives lie to the humanitarian posturing of so-called 'liberal project' Europe ... His point is simple: Europe, population 500 million, has the resources and capacity to absorb a very large number of refugees ... by telling the personal stories of numerous refugees, Kingsley delivers a compelling read with uncomplicated prose, while giving the reader all the more reason to trust his analysis ... he has done a service to the general reader in highlighting for us the injudicious actions of our governments; he’s handed us more than enough information to prompt our own political action towards aiding refugees and standing against barriers, borders, and bad policies.
The New Odyssey, is a compendium of his work on the scene, but he structures the wide-ranging narrative around the experiences of one man, Hashem al-Souki. The conditions of their first encounter are as dramatic as the journey that follows ... Kingsley's exuberant curiosity gives the book some informative twists, as he interrupts Hashem's trajectory to explore the wider context. His observations on the economics of migration are particularly revelatory, most of all those about the inner workings of the refugee-smuggling trade, whose protagonists he pursues doggedly ... The New Odyssey presents itself as 'the story of the twenty-first-century refugee crisis,' but while Kingsley covers his bases and then some, the book falls short of a definitive account. He doesn't quite shake the deadline-driven urgency of the daily-news reporter, occasionally succumbing to tired clichés. The lexicon of the refugee crisis is full of imprecise, watery metaphors: waves, wakes, flows, floods, influxes, floodgates, tides. This sort of language, even when employed inadvertently, has a dehumanizing effect ... Kingsley's biggest contribution in The New Odyssey is to drive home a very basic notion that many nonetheless find difficult to understand: Refugees take enormous risks because there simply is no other choice.
Patrick Kingsley has written a lucid and unflinching book that captures the ripples of the largest wave of mass migration since World War II. The New Odyssey delicately grapples with the task of encapsulating the crisis without diminishing its sprawling horror ... After reading this wrenching account of the refugee plight, you will not question their motivations ... Kingsley’s steady reporting underlines his critical humanitarian message. While war and repression spurred this current migration, he predicts the situation will not abate.
The New Odyssey provides, in effect, his reporter’s notebook from the migrant trail ... Kingsley has been a determined reporter, and his book captures the remarkable range of actors involved in making this migration happen ... But urgency is a cousin of haste, and The New Odyssey misses chances at deeper reflection ... [it] start[s] to do for the refugees what British abolitionists did for the slave trade. It mobilizes eyewitness testimony to promote empathy, and through empathy, better policy.
...richly researched and told ... Kingsley, the inaugural migration correspondent for the Guardian, digs deep with his research. He takes the reader to the front lines of people smuggling (and people trafficking) ... Over the course of the book, Kingsley deploys first-hand observations, probing interviews, and copious testimony to paint a vivid picture of the human suffering that migrants face during their journey. His writing is clean and crisp, clearly honed by newspaper deadlines and wordcounts – he paints full pictures, but doesn't overload his paragraphs or his pages, making The New Odyssey a rapid but rich read ... Kingsley marshals facts and numbers effectively, but the crowning virtue of his book is its clear-eyed and sober sense of compassion.
Kingsley’s account is planetary in scope, and cuts through the highly charged rhetoric that has fueled anti-migrant sentiment ... In researching his book, Kingsley asked hundreds of refugees why they risk death to reach Europe. The common answer is simple: Because there is no other option. People board wooden skiffs because the water has become safer than the land. Fences, walls and other efforts to seal off borders are doomed to fail, because migrants and their smugglers will find alternate routes, Kingsley argues. 'Their desperation will ultimately prove stronger than our isolation.'”