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A History of the Swedish People: Volume II: From Renaissance to Revolution Paperback – February 7, 2005
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Throughout these various wars and depredations, Moberg observes that it was the forest that served as a refuge for the common Swedish peasant. There he could retreat from invading armies. Many of these armies were constituted of German mercenaries--bringing to mind the Hessians sent by England to fight the American colonists who were my ancestors. The forest also served as the proper venue for guerilla warfare where the peasants often had the upper hand when pitted against the King's soldiers. Moberg points out that it was only in Denmark where Scandinavians were reduced to serfdom, as the plains of Jutland did not offer the respite provided by the forests of Sweden or the mountains of Norway.
In times of famine the forest was also a source of food. The Swedish peasant was able to use the membrane between the bark and wood of the tree as an ingredient for bread.
These accounts of the forest as a refuge calls to mind what my grandmother once told me about the American Civil War--as told to her, in turn, by her own grandmother (my great-great-grandmother):
"When the soldiers came they hid the cattle in the woods," said my grandmother.Read more ›
Unlike most history books of the era, though, this one is written with a definite slant. Moberg became disillusioned with the heroic history that he had been taught in his school days, finding that the great men and women of Swedish history actually had feet of clay that made their enshrining ludicrous. Embracing socialism in everything, he sought to write a book that reached past the kings and bigwigs of history, and told the story of the men and women that made the country everything that it was.
The book is quite iconoclastic, poking fun at many people who figure large in other history books – kings, soldiers, and magnates. In many ways it is a book ahead of its time, refusing to genuflect before anyone, and making for some humorous and fascinating reading. My one complaint against this book is that it contains no index, which limits its usefulness for everyday use (at least in the 1973 edition that I have access to).
So, if you are interested in reading a history of Sweden that is not like any other, or if you are interested in reading the thoughts of the great Vilhelm Moberg, then I highly recommend this book to you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is more factual and will take a while to finish reading. Not a novel for pure enjoyment. Informative.Published 23 months ago by University Instructor
Very good book. Lots of good History. I am catching up on family heritage. This book really gives some good informationPublished on September 4, 2013 by Diane G.
I haven't had time to read the book yet but i appreciate the prompt service. I don't appreciate the hassle of filling out this review.Published on June 18, 2013 by Scott Holland
Wilhelm Moberg is an amazing author. I've found all of his works to be insightful and interestingly written. Read morePublished on May 17, 2013 by Mark Fritch
I found this book to be very interesting. The author has a different topic for each chapter, and puts in his own opinions on some of the historical events! Read morePublished on April 26, 2009 by A. Stark