If you have the right passport, the right amount of money or the right colour skin, Europe can seem like a land without borders. That states who once fought wars with one another now give their citizens the right to travel, trade and work where they like is part of the story modern Europe likes to tell about itself: the EU's founding myth is that it was created to ensure the horrors of the twentieth century were never repeated; freedom, tolerance, and a respect for human rights are now proclaimed as 'European values'.
But the movement of people is still tightly controlled. While internal borders have come down, in recent years we have seen the growth of a militarised frontier at Europe's edges to keep out the uninvited. In theory, 'Fortress Europe' exists to protect EU citizens from external threats. In reality, the system itself is a threat to the lives of some of the world's most desperate migrants. As the number of people displaced by conflict worldwide rises to its highest level since the Second World War, an unprecedented number of refugees suffer unnecessary hardship, abuse and even death as they try to reach a continent that presents itself as a beacon of human rights.
The political narrative is familiar, but what of the lives of those caught up in the crisis? Building on several years of reporting work for leading publications, in Lights In The Distance Daniel Trilling tells the stories of the people he has encountered, drawing on the relationships he has built up over the course of his work. The result is a profound and important book.