BOOKS: by Michael Daniel (reviewer)News Weekly
ORIGINS: An Atlas of Human Migration edited by Russell King
, April 12, 2008
Migrations through the agesORIGINS:
An Atlas of Human Migration
edited by Russell King
(Sydney: ABC Books)
Hardcover: 192 pages
Rec. price: $45.00One of the most interesting phenomena in world history is that of migration. The rise and fall of civilisations as well as the development and spread of cultures cannot be understood without reference to it.
While some migrant groups, such as the Romans, seized the land they occupied by force, others entered their new lands peacefully, often fleeing economic or political hardship, such as the millions who migrated to the United States a century ago.Origins
traces the movements of peoples from early man to the present time. Major migratory movements are noted, explained and put into their historical contexts by the contributors. Accompanying each section are illustrations, graphs and maps of the migration routes.
Not only are maritime migrations, such as those of the Polynesians throughout the South Pacific, considered, but also migrations within countries, such as the depletion of the rural population and growth of urban centres in the United Kingdom in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.
Approximately one-third of the book is devoted to migrations of the last 200 years, which arguably have witnessed the greatest movements of humanity in the history, including the settlement of the continent of Australia via convict, free settler and post World War II migrations.
However, the authors seem to have a particular focus on the experience of the United States, and devote whole pages to the migration there of specific groups, such as Jews, Italians and Irish.
Given its structure, Origins
is an interesting book to read in segments. The contents are fascinating, particularly those describing the extent of migration throughout history. Indeed, the present reviewer found that, once he had opened the book, it was difficult to close.Origins
would make an ideal acquisition for a school library collection or a reference book in a home library.