In his book Exiled Among Nations: German and Mennonite Mythologies in a Transnational Age, historian John P.R. Eicher chronicles the stories of two Mennonite colonies transplanted during the rise of nationalism. As the introduction makes clear, though, the book is more than a mere record of history; it aims to show how “mobile populations fashion collective narratives as nations, religions, and diasporas.” The book can therefore be understood on two different levels. It acts as a straightforward history from 1874 to 1945, of the migrant Menno Colony’s (from Canada) and the refugee Fernheim Colony’s (from Russia) inception in Paraguay. As an explanation, it also attempts to, through the microcosm of the two colonies, “uncover the insecurities and ambiguities that accompanied the formation of modern nation states, which was the largest and most destructive experiment in the history of social engineering.”
Burkholder, Kenneth, Nathan N. Zook, and John P.R. Eicher. 2023. "Symposium Review: Exiled Among Nations: German and Mennonite Mythologies in a Transnational Age—John P.R. Eicher." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 11(1):106-10.