Displaced History

'Orderly and Humane'

Elend, the German word for misery, has its roots in an ancient word that means being without a place, which reminds us that homelessness has always been one of mankind’s most painful misfortunes. Some of the world’s greatest literature is about how displaced persons—individuals like Odysseus or nations like the Hebrews—heroically search for a home of their own. While homelessness has been a part of human experience from the beginning, its scope and...

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About the Author

James J. Sheehan, professor emeritus of history at Stanford University, is the author of Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?: The Transformation of Modern Europe, among other books.