Philipp Ther

The Outsiders - Flight, refugees, and integration in modern Europe

(German title: Die Außenseiter)
ca. 400 pages
Philipp Ther
Foto: Philipp Ther
© Barbara Mair/Universität Wien

Professor Philipp Ther (born 1967) teaches Modern European and East European History at the University of Vienna. He has already published five books in English, and his publications have been translated into various other languages. He has received several prizes and awards, including the John-F.-Kennedy Fellowship at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University (in 1997/98), the 2012 Translation Award of the German Book Trade Association (Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels) for Die dunkle Seite der Nationalstaaten: ›ethnische Säuberungen‹ im modernen Europa, which was also nominated as Academic Non-Fiction Book of the Year (2018, category Humanities, Social and Cultural Science) by the Austrian Ministry for Science, Reseach and Economy. He received the 2015 Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair for Die neue Ordnung auf dem alten Kontinent, which was also shortlisted for the Prix du livre européen. Furthermore, his work has earned him the Richard G. Plaschka-Preis (2006) and the Wittgenstein-Preis (2019).

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English world rights (Princeton UP), Spain (PUZ), Italy (Keller)

»Seen historically, refugees have almost always been an enrichment.«


Flight and integration are extremely important themes at present. They are a major reason for the rise of right-wing populist parties and are threatening to divide the EU. However, a glimpse into the depths of history puts 2015’s »refugee crisis« into perspective. Since the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, Europe has constantly been a continent of refugees.

Philipp Ther delves into the reasons for flight: religious intolerance, radical nationalism, and political persecution. Beginning with life stories he illustrates its hardships, identifies factors for successful integration, and discusses the repeated failure of international politics and the lessons that have come out of situations like the 1951 Refugee Convention of Geneva. As Ther shows, humanitarianism in refugee policy has always been fragile. But when today the fear of a failure of integration once again dominates the headlines, it is important to remember that destination countries have almost always profited from refugees. This is proven in particular by the history of post-war Germany when the young Federal Republic became a country of refugees.


»[The Outsider] has become an informative and clever exploration of the history of flight and integration in Europe since the end of the 15th century. « Süddeutsche Zeitung

»...a European panorama of humanity. A study cannot be assembled any more clearly given the countless millions that wandered through the centuries.« DIE ZEIT

»The exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian exile or Joseph and Mary who fled from Herod’s bloodhounds: those writing about the history of flight can delve deeply into the history of mankind. Philipp Ther has certainly done this with The Outsider, a fascinating history of flight in Europe.« Falter

»An urgently important book with wide appeal that should appear as soon as possible in other languages.« Der Ackermann

»A book that shows how important having a historical view is for being able to analyse today’s world more calmly. One of the best non-fiction books of the year.« SPIEGEL ONLINE

»The Outsider delivers a number of good arguments to counter current discourse decrying a ‘flood of foreigners’.« junge Welt

»The beginning of a valuable discussion. Finally ad rem. Contrary to resentment.« Ulf Poschardt, Die literarische Welt

Other publications

Das andere Ende der Geschichte/The Other End of History (2019)

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English world rights (Polity), Poland (Nauka i Innowacje)

Die neue Ordnung auf dem alten Kontinent/Europe After 1989 (2014)

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English world rights (Princeton UP), Chinese complex rights (Rye Field), Finland (Vastapaino), Japan (Misuzu Shobo), Poland (Kurhaus Publishing), Czech Republic (Libri), Bulgaria (KX Critique & Humanism), Ukraine (Antropogos-Logos-Film)