Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Almost Nearly Perfect People

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian UtopiaThe Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A witty, informative cultural survey of the major Nordic countries & the people that inhabit them. Booth, a veteran reporter, journeys through Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, & Sweden to uncover the mystique of their progressive social democratic societies. He ultimately presents a nuanced, affectionate portrait of the region, giving readers plenty of juicy gossipy tidbits & substantial sociological research.

With my interest in (one of) my ancestral lands rekindled by reading Scandinavia and the World & Stand Still Stay Silent I picked up Booth’s book (& a conversational Norwegian guide) hoping to get a clearer picture of the contemporary North. I was not disappointed–Booth’s overview will bring readers up to speed on current events as well as give a compact & breezy history of the different nations. There are also plenty of quotes from regional sociological & philosophical works that will give those interested in further reading a comprehensive list.

Recommended to readers curious about the area or enjoy ironic humor & meaty cultural facts sprinkled through their travelogues.

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