• Scandinavians

  • In Search of the Soul of the North
  • By: Robert Ferguson
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 15 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-27-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.6 (26 ratings)

Regular price: $34.99

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Publisher's Summary

Scandinavia is the epitome of cool: We fill our homes with Nordic furniture; we envy their humane social welfare system and their healthy outdoor lifestyle; we glut ourselves on their crime fiction. Even their strangely attractive melancholia seems to express a stoic, commonsensical acceptance of life's vicissitudes. But how valid is this outsider's view of Scandinavia, and how accurate is our picture of life in Scandinavia today?
Scandinavians follows a chronological progression across the Northern centuries: the Vendel era of Swedish prehistory; the age of the Vikings; the Christian conversions of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland; the unified Scandinavian state of the late Middle Ages; the sea change of the Reformation; the kingdom of Denmark-Norway, King Gustav Adolphus, and the age of Sweden's greatness; the cultural golden age of Ibsen, Strindberg, and Munch; the impact of the Second World War; Scandinavia's postwar social democratic nirvana; and the terror attacks of Anders Behring Breivik.
©2016 Robert Ferguson (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A delightful history in which the author truly captures 'the soul of the North.'" ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Le Sabre US on 02-15-18

String of digressions paints cultural picture

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this book to people who have an interest in Scandinavia and some knowledge of the history of the countries - Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Knowledge of Finland not really as essential. Without some context you may find it hard to follow.

Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Ferguson? Why or why not?

Yes - he is a scholar widely read and schooled, especially in literature and theatre. He closely observes current events, people and reactions, and can explain current trends.

Which character – as performed by Michael Page – was your favorite?

This was not a "screen play" or theatrical reading, but Mr Page did some characters; in the illustrative scenes about Henrik Ibsen and his wife and the secret of the out-of-wedlock child, the voices were excellent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and it would be better if listened to in one sitting or in close timing. Would be easy to lose the context if spread over time, because the author takes time to unfold his points.

Any additional comments?

Scandinavians are cool. We (Americans) buy Ikea furniture, envy their social welfare system, admire the outdoor lifestyle, read the crime fiction. Even the melancholic view seems stoic and commonsensical; life is tough. But is the outsider's view correct? The author searches for the cause of Scandinavian melancholy, indeed whether it even exists. But you must judge for yourself. A snarky English emigrant's view of the Scandinavian psyche and self-view. If you love English dry humor you will love this book; especially if you don't mind the long digressions - the book is actually a string of digressions. You will either view tthem as a string of pearls or the worst "shaggy dog" stories.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By David on 07-26-17

This book answers many questions I have wondered about and much further beyond that.

I have traveled in Denmark and Sweden and have worked closely with Scandinavian health service providers, as well as providing behavioral health services to a few Scandinavians. This book feels like a roadmap to all of the above, and very much more. It's dense with information presented in a friendly tone describing historical events and processes from prehistory to present-day excursions the author takes with his wife. The narrator easily conveys the impression that he is the erudite author himself

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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