#1. TRUE SCANDINAVIAN CRIME
In July 1965, a young woman was found dead in Stockholm. At first, her death was considered a suicide, but then it was discovered that she had been murdered, and that the killer had also sexually violated his victim. What followed would become the biggest and most complicated murder inquiry Sweden had ever seen. For a long time the police were baffled – initially they were not even sure how the young woman had died – and several people were arrested in connection with the crime, only to be cleared of all suspicions. Eventually a suspect was found and put on trial, on the basis of circumstantial evidence. He was acquitted, but after an appeal the case moved to a higher court, where the verdict was overturned and the accused convicted and sentenced to hospitalization.
True Scandinavian Crime will be a gripping account of this strange and complicated case, based on interviews and extensive research in both police and court archives. But it will also be much more, because Englund will tell the story in a different and highly original way. True Scandinavian Crime will, in fact, be three books in one: a classic true crime procedural, unfolding from the perspective of the police; a tragic story of a murder foretold, narrated from the victim’s point of view; and a chilling journey into the warped mind of the killer, based on extensive personal notes and other documents of his that were discovered during the original investigation.
#2. TURNING POINT
In the autumn of 1942, the Axis powers were on the offensive on all fronts of World War Two. They looked unstoppable and likely to emerge victorious from the carnage. But within less than half a year, the tide had turned, and the victory of the Allies was only a matter of time. In Turning Point, Peter Englund homes in on these crucial six months in the history of the Second World War. As he did so masterfully in The Beauty and the Sorrrow, Englund will bring history to dramatic life through the individual stories of approx. 30 men and women of different ages and nationalities, all of whom experienced this cataclysmic event from different perspectives and in quite different ways.
The time period covered in Turning Point will be shorter than that of The Beauty and the Sorrrow and its focus therefore even more intense; at the same time, the book’s canvas will be vast, taking the reader from the desert of Northern Africa and the frozen rubble of Stalingrad to the islands of the Pacific, from Berlin under attack by the Royal Air Force to the Warsaw Ghetto. Once again, Englund’s primary interest isn’t in giving us another top-down military history of the war, but in understanding it as a profoundly human experience. Turning Point will be an intimate history of the pivotal phase of World War Two.
#3. SUMMER OF PEACE
The summer of 1919 is mostly remembered for just one thing: the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty, which took place in late June of that year. One might be tempted, therefore, to call the summer of 1919 the “Summer of Peace” – but the truth is that it was anything but. World War One did not end in universal peace, but in something that looked very much like its opposite: the tensions within many of the warring nations, fed by but also kept largely at bay during the years of the global conflict, finally erupted.
In the summer of 1919, there was revolution and civil war in Germany, Russia, Hungary and the Baltic States, and unrest in many other countries – ranging from the general strike in Canada to the start of the May Fourth Movement in China. (Both Hitler and Mussolini made their first appearances, too.) The USA saw the worst race riots in its history, and anarchists staged a bombing campaign aimed at leading politicians. Other conflicts that started during that remarkable summer, including, for example, the Turkish War of Independence, were triggered by the very terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Summer of Peace won’t be just a catalogue of the woes of peace, however, but an intricate tapestry that will weave together the run-up to the signing of the Peace Treaty and the strange weather that seemed to haunt Europe for months; the first transatlantic flight and the important gains made in the struggle for women’s suffrage; the solar eclipse in late May, which proved once and for all that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was correct; and the introduction of jazz in Great Britain and the creation of the Bauhaus school in Germany.
#4. SNOW – A Short History
In the future, due to global warming, snow may become a rarity, a memory even. This is an elegy over this very special form of precipitation, focusing on its beauty and benefits, both is human history and in nature, and taking a very personal form – the author grew up in the northern parts of Sweden, not far from the polar circle, and has amassed a long and wide experience in the subject matter. The book discusses the role of snow in work and transportation, in peace and war, in economy, livelihood, art and play.
The organizing principle of this short book is one of the most renowned landscape paintings of the 16th century, the “Hunters in the Snow” by Pieter Breughel. Each chapter starts off with a discussion of a specific detail in this immensely rich painting, from which digrssions follow, often taking an unexpected route. This is not an encyclopedia over snow as such, that attempts to cram all possible facts about this phenomenon in between two covers, but instead a personal essay with a high density and a poetic touch.
“The most readable historian in Sweden by far – one of our best authors over all, really. This book is a great achievement, a real page turner.”
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1 February 2019