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Unto a Good Land (The Emigrants, Book II) (Bk. 2) Paperback – September 15, 1995

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Frequently Bought Together

Unto a Good Land (The Emigrants, Book II) (Bk. 2) + Settlers: The Emigrant Novels Book 3 + Emigrants: The Emigrant Novels Book 1 (The Emigrant Novels / Vilhelm Moberg, Book 1)
Price for all three: $50.65

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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

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; New edition edition (September 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873513207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873513203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,967 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an epic work by its Swedish author. Translated from Swedish into English, this beautifully written book of historical fiction was first published in 1954 and met with excellent reviews at the time. It is the second part of a four part opus, the first of which is "The Emigrants". This book, "Unto a Good Land", is followed by two additional books, "The Settlers" and "Last Letter From Home".
In the first volume, "The Emigrants", the author detailed 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 his family and friends of the family, the Nilsson family decides 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. The author regales the reader with the travails this hardy group of settlers would encounter in their efforts to create by the sweat of their brow a new home in the wilderness.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jim Colyer on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
From Manhattan, it is 1500 miles to Minnesota. Before departing, Karl Oskar feeds his family, and Robert and Arvid walk the length of Broadway, amazed by what they see. The group travels up the Hudson River by steamboat, from Albany to Buffalo by train and across the Great Lakes. They are now immigrants rather than emigrants. You can not be one without being both.

Alienation is a theme of Unto A Good Land. The immigrants feel the limitations imposed upon them as foreigners. They do not know the geography and cannot speak the language. Dependence breeds suspicion and paranoia.

The tension between Kristina and Ulrika begins to subside. After an attack of conscience, Kristina shares a loaf of bread with her. Ulrika and Elin are caring for Danjel's children.

At a stopover in Detroit, Ulrika totally vindicates herself in Kristina's and Karl Oskar's eyes. She recovers Lill-Marta, their 3-year-old, from an orchard where she had gone to pick cherries. This is in the nick of time as the boat is about to leave. It is a touching scene where Karl Oskar takes the hand of the woman he ridiculed.

The immigrants cut across the prairie and head up the Mississippi River. Arvid remains funny and stupid, fearing alligators which he calls crocodiles.

The novels are virtually non-violent when compared with a Hamlet or a War and Peace. They are strong on character, simple, plain. We find people determining their own course, not swept up in events so overwhelming as to have their actions dictated for them.

There is an emphasis on nature, the necessity of eking a living from the earth. There is not so much of war or what man has done to man. It is unexpected when at one point Karl Oskar has to elude some would-be bandits.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Karl Oskar Nilsson, his family, and a collection of other emigrants from Sweden now find themselves in New York harbor, ready to find their promised land in Minnesota. Traveling by steam train, riverboat, canal barge, and finally on foot, they reach Taylors Falls, Minnesota. Setting up as homesteaders, each family can claim 160 acres, and Karl Oskar is determined to pick the primest land. However, it is too late to plant crops, Karl Oskar has too little money to buy livestock, and winter is coming on fast. This is the story of the emigrants' first year in America.

This book is the second in the Emigrants quadrilogy, and this book is every bit as wonderful as the first. The characters seem as alive to me reading this book, as if I was reading their own diaries. Vilhelm Moberg is considered one of Sweden's great authors, and it is easy to see why.

As an aside, besides merely showing someone I would consider similar to my own Swedish ancestors, this book has made me understand more about life. I find myself haunted by the scene in which Karl Oskar walks twelve miles to purchase a 100-pound sack of flour so that his family can eat and survive the winter. Carrying the sack home on his back, he becomes lost in the forest, and nearly dies of exposure. But, realizing that he metaphorically carries his children in that sack, he continues on and when he finally finds his home, he delivers the flour to his wife without one word of complaint.

So, this is a wonderful book, a fitting sequel to The Emigrants. I highly recommend both books to you.

[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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Unto a Good Land (The Emigrants, Book II) (Bk. 2)
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