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A dazzling and disconcerting tour of our migratory world

From Syrian refugees to migrating seabirds

By Cal Flyn   July 2020

Checkerspot butterfly Photo: Wikimedia commons

The travel writer Bruce Chatwin believed that man’s “migratory drive” led him to wander the world in search of novelty. Restlessness also forms the central thesis of Sonia Shah’s latest book The Next Great Migration, an examination of relocation in all its forms—human and wild—in the context of impending climate-related disruption.

Shah, an American investigative journalist and author of the prescient Pandemic (2017), delves into the origins of anti-immigrant rhetoric—starting from Carl Linnaeus’s early attempts to sort humans into colour-coded sub-species—and unpicks the notion of a static world, in which organisms are native to one place. She sketches…

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