20th century

One more in the gang of four

For those that have been following my blog over the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed I’ve spent some time promoting the four finalists in the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016. Why? Because these are very good books, historical fiction at its best – plus, of course, I’m one of the final judges. And […]

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Shining a light into the darker corners

Sweden has the dubious honour of being second only to Third Reich Germany in the number of people sterilised against their will. It is one of those “skeletons in the closet” things, in that the Swedish establishment avoided talking about it for a number of years, preferring to bury this rather sordid aspect of our

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Yet another finalist

A week ago, I introduced you to one of the finalists in this years Historical Novelist Society Indie Award. As some of you know, I was the proud recipient of this award last year, and this year I am just as proud to be one of the final judges. I thought it might make sense

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Eating his pie in the sky

Today was one of those nippy but sunny early spring days (at least here in Sweden) when the brightness of the day made it quite impossible not to be outside, no matter that you needed gloves and three sweaters and thick boots and a warm scarf not to freeze to death. I did some mild

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In celebration of Finland

Some while ago, I published a post about Finnish history – very much inspired by a Finnish colleague of mine plus an abiding fascination with this country to the east of my own, a country whose history has per definition been tangled with Sweden – or Russia, or both. Anyway, some days after my post,

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A restless Swedish skeleton – of events in the aftermath of WW II

I have an acquaintance who some years ago decided to dig into her ancestry. As most parishes in this neck of the woods have kept detailed tabs on people since the early 17th century, it isn’t that difficult to construct a family tree, and most of these old records are available on line – a

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Bottoms up!

Us Swedes like our herring. And with herring, we serve chilled akvavit, served in small glasses. When we eat herring and drink to the herring, we often sing, strange songs about pike fish with legs (but that one we can blame on the Finns, it’s their song) or about hopping frogs, or about girls that

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Saving lives with papers – a man who made a difference

When I was a child, we had an eighteen tome encyclopedia in the bookshelf. On days when I had nothing else to read, I’d pull out one of the tomes, open it randomly and read about something I had (probably) never heard of before. Encyclopedias invite that kind of behaviour, the un-organised browsing that has

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