on 11 August 2009
This book contains everything that a reader would want in a history of Sweden but unfortunately it is extremely irritating to read. It cries out for an editor to make the author readable.
The subject matter is comprehensive and the individual chapters are clearly laid out using subject sub-headings. The failure in readability is due to the excessive use of qualifying clauses in a majority of its sentences. If all unnecessary clauses and their supporting commas were to be removed then the book would be sixty pages shorter. An example from page 8 of the book is "With Rome, in the west, on the other hand, to which transport links were poor, direct contacts remained minimal" Sentences like this often constitute a majority of the sentences in a paragraph. It is often necessary to re-read sentences to remind oneself what the main idea is.
on 23 June 2008
Having become fascinated by Scandanavian, and more especially, Swedish culture and history, during the past decade, I have been searching for a concise history for some time. It was with anticipation that I approached this book and my expectations have been met. Neil Kent writes in a masterly but accessible manner and carries the reader with a strength of argument and well researched fact.
This is a tremendous introduction to Swedish history and the forces that shaped one of the most humane societies on earth. Full marks to the author; a highly recommended and enjoyable text and a welcome addition to the Concise Cambridge Series.
on 31 May 2010
This is a dreadful book. It contains endless repetition, errors of fact and countless ungainly sentences. Do they have editors at CUP?
The last fifty pages is a right wing rant worthy of the Daily Mail, complete with climate change denial.
Don't buy it, don't read it, don't put it in your library.
on 7 March 2016
This is possibly the poorest book have read in a long time. I am not an expert on the topic so cannot comment on its accuracy or balance, but the prose is so bad I have abandoned the book after 80 pages. How the author could have attained the status of professor with such a poor command of written English is beyond me. A lot of the problems with the text (repetition, ambiguity, sheer clumsiness, etc.) could have been solved by a competent copy editor, but either none was available or their changes were rejected by the author. Cambridge University Press should be ashamed.