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Swedish Exodus [Paperback]

by Lars Ljungmark, Kermit B. Westerberg
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1, 1996 0809320479 978-0809320479 1st

"America fever" gripped Sweden in the middle of the nineteenth century, seethed to a peak in 1910, when one-fifth of the world’s Swedes lived in America, cooled during World War I, and chilled to dead ash with the advent of the Great Depression in 1930.

Swedish Exodus, the first English translation and revision of Lars Ljungmark’s Den Stora Utvandringen, recounts more than a century of Swedish emigration, concentrating on such questions as who came to America, how the character of the emigrants changed with each new wave of emigration, what these people did when they reached their adopted country, and how they gradually became Americanized.

Ljungmark’s essential challenge was to capture in a factual account the broad sweep of emigration history. But often he narrows his focus to look closely at those who took part in this mass migration. Through historical records and personal letters, Ljungmark brings many of these people back to life. One young woman, for example, loved her parents, but loved America more: "I never expect to speak to you in this life. . . . Your loving daughter unto death." Like most immigrants, she never expected to return. Another immigrant wrote back seeking a wife: "I wonder how you have it and if you are living. . . . Are you married or unmarried? If you are unmarried, you can have a good home with me."

Ljungmark also focuses closely on some of the leaders: Peter Cassel, a liberal temperance supporter and free-church leader whose community in America prospered; Hans Mattson, a colonel in the Civil War and founder of a colony in Minnesota; Erik Jansson, a book burner, self-proclaimed messiah, and founder of the Bishop Hill Colony; Gustaf Unonius, a student idealist and founder of a Wisconsin colony that faltered.

The story of Swedish immigrants in the United States is the story in miniature of the greatest mass migration in human history, that of thirty-five million Europeans who left their homes to come to America. It is a human story of interest not only to Swedes but to everyone.

Frequently Bought Together

Swedish Exodus + Letters From The Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914 + Your Swedish Roots: A Step by Step Handbook
Price for all three: $65.18

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Editorial Reviews


"Swedish Exodus is the translation (and excellently rendered it is) of Den Stora Utvandringen. Its ten chapters serve as an admirable introduction to the subject and they are supplemented by a good, if selective, bibliography. . . .

"It is a tribute to this admirable survey that one is left at the end wishing for more personal details of the fascinating adventures of these pioneers."—Times Literary Supplement


Language Notes

Text: English, Swedish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809320479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809320479
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must" for Swedish Genealogy Researchers November 18, 2000
"Swedish Exodus" is an indespensible reference for Swedish researchers. In these pages one can find out why so many Swedes decided to come to America, how they mananged it, where they emigrated to in America, how many came during each year of the mass migration, how many remigrated each year, how many came from each major Swedish district, and how they did in America. It even outlines the consequences of the emigration on Sweden. It is nicely indexed, contains a useful bibliography, and is illustrated with photos and drawings.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply superb September 22, 1999
By A Customer
Being of Swedish descent I always wondered why my forebears came here. Now I know. Concise. Not wordy. Good for someone that wants a good simple explanation of the Swedish Exodus.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful as an introducion to Swedish emigration. February 18, 1999
By A Customer
The chapters of this book set out the points of major importance about Swedish emigration to America. This is good as a place to start reading about Scandinavian emigration studies and its solid selected bibliography is helpful for guidance to more academic works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Swedish Immigration September 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book written from a Swedish historical perspective. That alone makes it an interesting read. It touches on many key elements of questions that descendants of Swedish immigrants want to know about how, why and where their ancestors got to the United States.
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