File Size: 1933 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Picador (January 27, 2015)
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
One of the best points of this publication is that he is exploring the different cultures of these nations around the world through his own eyes and writes as such. Because of this, the writing can often be quite amusing. Booth shares some lighthearted jokes the residents of one country have at the expense of others. Or his uncomfortable experience of visiting a Finnish sauna for the first time. However aside from the humor, you get a sense of the pride many people take in their countries. A single memorable example is the Constitution Day celebrations that take place on May 17 in Norway where people dress up in ways that invoke a romantic image of the past. Booth notes how immigrants to Norway, despite little to no connection to this history, heartily adopt it.
More serious issues are also of importance. Booth dedicates some time at looking at the horrific terrorist attack of the extreme-right wing Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik this summer and the effect it had on the country. Surprisingly, as terrible as the attack was, there was clearly not a lot of everlasting change. There was clearly no new security set up and life went on. Presentation area also explores some of the aspects of the Nordic countries' famous wellbeing states and just how that works. I found the segment on Sweden in this regard most interesting. In Laxa, sweden, Booth sees a system he refers to as " benign totalitarianism" where the Swedish government seriously intervenes in the lives of its citizens, even interfering in parenting. There is debate if this just creates too much dependency on the state and stifles the individual or if it produces the individual from worries allowing him or the woman to become truly individual.
One objective of this book, as the name implies, is looking past the utopian image these nations around the world sometime have. They may not be without problems. This was especially apparent in Iceland where many years of economic mismanagement finished in a severe financial crisis in the late 2000s. He also wonders whether the current system of wellbeing is sustainable in the long run without changes. Denmark and Sweden already have a tax system that most Americans, for example, would find absolutely preposterous. Most of these countries also face the problem, as many other countries are also experiencing, of an ageing population. In his own home of Denmark he or she also notes problems in education, healthcare, and an increasingly lazy workforce.
Even though nearly all of this book can be quite interesting, I do find that sometimes Booth's own view is presented too much as fact. Positive, this is okay when looking at the cultural aspects. He is not afraid to convey his own view of precisely what is great and what he finds is rather odious. However, it seems like he sometimes tries to poke holes in things he learned from selection interviews with experts. Many times in this guide he talks with people associated with universities and other these specialists. Surely there way of doing something is well worth something. He also tosses in criticisms of things like right-wing political parties and people he just appears to disagree with.
Learning about the Nordic nations around the world is especially prudent today. For example, in his campaign for President of the United States, Bernie Sanders has often espoused the so-called " Nordic Model" as something The united states should emulate. There are certainly interesting things to learn about what did and what has not from these countries. Nevertheless, besides the serious content, this is an enjoyable look at five Western european countries and I would recommend this to those looking to learn a little bit about the world surrounding them., And to feel that we all thought Scandinavia is a utopia. Presentation area does a good job of filling a great deal of blanks about the history of the Countries and the probability of the reasons they are who the are today. Each of the several Countries is adequately talked about filled with little " in" jokes about each. I actually was surprised at the access he previously and the number of politicians, experts in ethnic studies and dignitaries. It's a good read and makes me personally want to go back to " Viking" land to do more exploring on my own., Booth has some definite bias however the book is a fun read if you take things with a materials of salt on your lefse!, Very readable, sometimes quite funny, and rarely boring exploration of the social psyches of Scandinavia. Everybody who travels to one of these countries should read beforehand., Gives a good understanding of all the Scandinavian Countries starting with Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, the Sweden., I enjoyed the book as an interesting comparison between Scandinavian nations around the world and the US. There were some very interesting ideas expressed and explained. I actually think it's a good read for many who hold the Scandinavians up as the perfect sort of what life should be. We could learn from some of their examples. I avoid think the homogeneity is something I would appreciate., Great read. With Scandanavia constantly quoted whenever the media want to give one of the perfect model it's nice to read about the people which we know so little about. Funny too. A good easy read., Loved this book -- we're going to Scandinavia next year so reading this helped my understand what the climate in those nations around the world actually are like -- the book is well written and entertaining
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