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Last Letter Home: The Emigrant Novels Book 4 (The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 4) Paperback – September 15, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Emigrants Series

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  • Last Letter Home: The Emigrant Novels Book 4 (The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 4)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published between 1951 and 1961, Moberg's four-volume "Emigrant" epic offers the saga of the Swedish immigrant's role in the settling of the American frontier.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Swedish
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Product Details

  • Series: The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 4 (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; New edition edition (September 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873513223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873513227
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vilhelm Moberg (1898-1972) was one of Sweden's greatest writers of the twentieth century and is well known for his remarkable "The Emigrants" (1949), a four-volume epic of Swedish immigration to America.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This is the last volume in a quartet of books by one of Sweden's greatest authors. Translated from Swedish into English, this work of historical fiction was originally published in 1961. Aptly titled, "Last Letter Home", it is the final epic in a four part opus, the first three of which are "The Emigrants", "Unto a Good Land", and "The Settlers". One should read them in the order in which they were written for maximum reading pleasure, even though each book can stand on its own.
In the first volume, "The Emigrants", the author details the emigration of a Swedish family to the New World, grounding it in the reasons for the exodus of so many Swedes from their mother country in the middle of the 19th century. The focus of the first book in this four part opus is on the family, relatives, and friends of Karl Oscar Nilsson, a peasant farmer who unceasingly worked his farm, only to find that, no matter what he did, he could not progress and would continue to live on the cusp of total poverty. The focus of the first book is on their life in Sweden. Gathering up family and friends of the family, the Nilssons decide to take the monumental step of making a fresh start by emigrating to the new world, specifically the United States of America.
The second volume, "Unto a Good Land", focuses on the arrival of the Nilsson family and friends in the United States of America. It details their journey from New York, a journey that was to take them across the Midwest by rail, steamer, and foot, to arrive in the wilds of what would one day be the State of Minnesota. It is in this wilderness that the Nilsson family and friends would homestead and struggle to make a new home.
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This is one of those novels you savor. A novel you will never forget. This one is translated from the Swedish and it loses nothing in the translation. It is helpful, however, to read the three books before this novel. It is the fourth book in the saga, although it isn't absolutely necessary. This novel holds up very well on its own. Thank You!
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The Last Letter Home follows the experiences of Karl Oskar Nilsson, and his wife Kristina, from 1860 to 1890. The American Civil War has come, and Karl Oscar agonizes over whether or not to join in the defense of his new country. However, things become a good deal worse when the Dakota Indians become tired of the treatment they are receiving at the hands of the United States, and begin a war against the white inhabitants of Minnesota. Life goes on after these upheavals, but not without costs. This bittersweet book follows the emigrants through to the very end, as the new generation grows up and becomes Americans.

This book is the fourth and final book of the Emigrants series. Crowning the masterful first three books, this book continues to show Vilhelm Moberg as one of the great authors of the Twentieth Century. As before, the characters are so human, that I found myself suffering with them, and sharing their joy. I wish that I could do justice to these books, but fear that I am not eloquent enough to convey just how wonderful they are. If I could recommend any books above all others that I have reviewed, it would be the Emigrants books. Please consider reading these books!

[For those of you with young children, I would like to recommend the Kirsten books in the American Girls series. Written for young readers (primarily girls), it tells the story of a Swedish family that immigrates to Minnesota in 1854.]
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Format: Paperback
When the Civil War begins, Karl Oskar tries to join the Union army, but is rejected because of his bad leg. Kristina is relieved as she opposes war in general.

It is the Sioux uprising which threatens settlers in Minnesota. Danjel and his oldest son fall victim to their savagery.

The final book is fatalistic. Moberg takes Karl Oskar and Kristina to the end of their lives. Kristina dies following a miscarriage. It was after a doctor told her she could endure no more pregnancies. Karl Oskar and Ulrika have bitter words as to whose fault it was.

Karl Oskar's loss causes him to retreat within himself. He raises four sons and two daughters alone. Old age follows, as do grandchildren. The Swedish settlers begin to lose their character, intermarrying to create a race of Americans. The melting pot!

We hear the strains of Like An Angel Passing Through My Room as Karl Oskar, recalling his past, awaits death. The last letter to Sweden, written by a neighbor, informs Karl Oskar's sister of his death in 1890 at age 67. The series spans 46 years.
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Format: Paperback
and if I had not thought they were excellent, I would have stopped at book one. So, why not 5 stars? Mainly because things get very "wordy" at times, and a bit repetative. Yes Kristina, we know you miss the Old Country, but I don't need to be told this 30 times. We get to really "see" the main charactors, even their thoughts (fears, dreams, religious doubtes and beliefs, etc.), but some may find this boring (I did not). This series should appeal to every fan of historical fiction.
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