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On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government buildings in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the island of Utøya, where he killed 69 more, most of them teenage members of Norway's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and what led up to it. What made Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become a terrorist?
As in her best seller The Bookseller of Kabul, Seierstad excels at the vivid portraiture of lives under stress. She delves deep into Breivik's troubled childhood, showing how a hip-hop and graffiti aficionado became a right-wing activist and Internet game addict, and then an entrepreneur, Freemason, and self-styled master warrior who sought to "save Norway" from the threat of Islam and multiculturalism. She writes with equal intimacy about Breivik's victims, tracing their political awakenings, aspirations to improve their country, and ill-fated journeys to the island. By the time Seierstad reaches Utøya, we know both the killer and those he will kill. We have also gotten to know an entire country - famously peaceful and prosperous, and utterly incapable of protecting its youth.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By D on 05-05-17
Heart wrenching and informative
I decided to listen to this book because I wanted to know more about the case. What I ended up with is a much clearer understanding of Norway's social and political structure. Being from Minnesota, I'm basically one of the only people I know who doesn't have Norwegian or Swedish ancestry. Learning about Norway was fascinating and I'd love to travel there someday.
The author describes the perpetrator, the victims, the survivors, and the many people indirectly impacted by this crime with such care and respect. Yes - even for the perpetrator. Through his own words - his blog, his "book", his testimony - he showed what a bigoted, misguided monster he is. The author simply presented the facts in a well organized, thoughtful way. The performance was excellent - she did an amazing job pronouncing Norwegian words and didn't "Americanize" anything. I appreciated that. This book is difficult to get through. It's painful. It's unbelievably sad. Your heart will break for the parents of these children. But it's also very well written and extremely well performed.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Michelle in New York City on 11-18-16
A Thoroughly Researched and though provoking Book
This is the shocking story of Anders Breivik, who, alone, killed 77 people in a one day terror attack on his fellow citizens of Norway. Many of these victims were teenagers who were attending a summer camp. This book is very well written and tells, not only the progression of this mass murderer's life , but also weaves in personal stories of the progression of many of the victims' lives. I thought this was a very important part of the story...so the reader can get a better understanding of the impact of this event.
This is really a very thoroughly investigated book and this writer tells a complete and thought provoking story.
Although the courts found this man sane, I think his own writings and actions prove differently. He is truly a madman with a murderous rage and no empathy for others. He also has an extremely high opinion of himself. The book that he was writing is an example of his disorganized, bizarre and grandiose thought. I was shocked to find that he was only given 21 years in prison... the maximum penalty in Norway. He is most certainly a danger to society and I am not sure what Norway will do with him upon release.
The narrator has a very pleasing voice and is a positive addition to the audio version of this book.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Kunde on 05-15-18
Absolutely gripping book
The book is well researched and one feels like getting to know the perpetrator but even more important the victims. The book makes one angry at times and really sad but it is an incredible book that I will listen to again very soon. The narrator is superb as well.
By Anonymous User on 04-08-18
A deep and detailed dive into a fascinating case
The performance of Suzanne Toren is perfect, the research by Åsne Seierstad is in depth.