1947. Where now begins

ORIGINAL TITLE: 1947. Här börjar nu

AUTHOR: Elisabeth Åsbrink


GENRE: Film rights, Non-fiction

Somewhere on the timeline, the war ends, while somewhere else, a new age begins – the one we call now. The shift does not happen overnight, from one day to the next; instead, the world vibrates for a number of years. People try to find their way to homes that are no longer there. People run from their deeds, and most of them get away. The earth of Poland is rich with ash.

In 1947, human rights have been neither formulated nor adopted. Justice is administered to some of the leading war criminals on the basis of entirely different accounts of their misdeeds.

In 1947, production begins of the the Kalashnikov, Christian Dior creates the New Look, the first computer bug is discovered, CIA is set up, Hassan Al-Banna draws up the plan that remains the goal of jihadists to this day, a United Nations committee is given four months to find a solution to the problem of Palestine.

Of seemingly disparate events Elisabeth Åsbrink has written the story of a world where  good and evil takes shape, where ideas about democracy and participation are born and die at the same moment, where an old order falls and a new one arises. Where now begins.



“The Swedish journalist Åsbrink’s '1947' is an extraordinary achievement. [...] Åsbrink is throughout attentive to the complex dynamic produced by the Holocaust’s multiple aftermaths, the urgently necessary and terrifyingly confusing process of decolonization and the consolidation of the Soviet bloc. Her constant intercutting of the world-shaking with the quotidian — including her father as a child navigating post-Nazi Budapest — underscores a challenge to more mainstream genres of history writing. The year 1947 did mark a tipping point between the savagery of the immediate past and the tentative stirrings of postwar potentialities. Ultimately most compelling is 1947’s relationship to our present. A chilling recurrent subplot involves the remarkably rapid regrouping of undeterred ex-Nazis, already inventing denialism, networking transnationally and dreaming up a renewed pan-fascist future.”
The New York Times Book Review

“…[A] gripping history, formed as a patchwork of significant events. In Paris, the final names are added to the treaties ending the war; in New York, Billie Holiday plays Carnegie Hall; in Cairo, the Arab League convenes on the issue of Palestine; on a Scottish island, George Orwell completes “1984.”…[Åsbrink’s] careful juxtaposition of disparate events highlights an underlying interconnectedness and suggests a new way of thinking about the postwar era.”
The New Yorker

"In this highly readable and original narrative history, Swedish journalist and author Elisabeth Åsbrink offers a salutary lesson that gives the lie to the idea that humanity learns from its misstakes, and reminds us that small steps and seemingly minor choices can make waves, both across the globa and across time. […] Five stars."
New Internationalist

"Among innumerable turning points in history, 1947, just two years after World War II ended, is a year worth review. Åsbrink's book, translated from the Swedish, makes some of that year's neglected history and high drama tangible and meaningful. With a technique reminiscent of John Dos Passos' "newsreels," the author records events from across the world (Paris, Palestine, New York, Los Angeles, Budapest, Berlin, Delhi, etc.), using the present tense to create a sense of immediacy…Throughout the book, Åsbrink artfully selects her narratives…A skillful and illuminating way of presenting, to wonderful effect, the cultural, political, and personal history of a year that changed the world."
Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating and thought-provoking fresco of the flow of twelve months of world history. The language and story telling unveil our history as well as opens us to other ways of thinking than traditional historical analysis."
Dagens Nyheter

"A powerful and enormously moving new book"
The Hindu

"1947 is equally an instructive lesson in history as it is beautiful and well-written prose. Read it!"
Svenska Dagbladet

"It’s brilliant."
Tidningen Vi

"The book is fantastic."
Svt Gomorron

"If you don’t get your hands on this book you will miss out not only on a historically meaningful year, but on a strong reading experience."

" … a book that is both a collection of images from the past and a rare timeless mosaic that the reader has to put together herself … Elisabeth Åsbrink’s 1947 is a well written and captive book. But more than that: it fascinates by opening so many separate, and at the same time connected, stories."

"Elisabeth Åsbrink writes sentences that make one gasp in admiration."
The Sydney Morning Herald

"It’s a remarkable book.  It charts world events – month by month, city by city – for the year of 1947,  as the world recovers from the cataclysm of WW2.  And even if you think you are reasonably up to speed with modern history because you’ve read books and watched films and you know people who lived through it, you will probably find yourself surprised by some of what’s chronicled here.  I certainly was."
ANZ LitLovers blog



”What do we do today that our descendants will struggle with in seventy years? The question is raised by this kaleidoscopic collection of essays in which major politics merge with everyday events, in a year of world history. In a beautiful prose the reader is guided through a seemingly insignificant year with a black history casting shadows over time to come. ”

1947. Where now begins was shortlisted with the following motivation for the prestigious August prize 

"Extraordinarily inventive and gripping, a uniquely personal account of a single, momentous year."

Philippe Sands, Author of East West Street

Rights sold


Brazilian rights sold to Ayine

Croatian Rights sold to SANDORF

Danish Rights sold to People's Press

Dutch rights sold to Thomas Rap

Film Rights sold to Picky Pictures

Finnish Rights sold to Siltala

French Rights sold to Editions Stock

German Rights sold to Arche

Hungarian rights sold to Park Kiado

Israeli rights sold to Achuzat Bayit Publishers

Italian Rights sold to Iperborea

Korean rights sold to Woongjin Thinkbig Co. Ltd

Norwegian Rights sold to Spartacus

Polish Rights sold to Wydawnictwo Pozanskie

Russian rights sold to Ad Marginem

Serbian rights sold to Geopoetika

Slovak Rights sold to Absent

Spanish rights sold to Turner Libros

US rights sold to Other Press

World English rights sold to Scribe (UK + AUS)


06 dec 2018

1947 chosen as one of the best books of 2018

Elisabeth Åsbrink's 1947, Where now begins has been chosen as one of the best books of the year 2018 by American NPR (National Public Radio). From Nancy Pearls review: "It's just one of those books that makes you want to major in history. It is one of the best books,...

05 apr 2018

Rave reviews for US edition of 1947

We are receiving the most wonderful reviews for the US edition of Elisabeth Åsbrink's 1947. Where now begins. How about the following quotes: “The Swedish journalist Åsbrink’s “1947” is an extraordinary achievement. [...] Åsbrink is throughout attentive to the complex dynamic produced by the Holocaust’s multiple aftermaths, the urgently necessary and...

14 dec 2017

1947 – best non-fiction of 2017!

Elisabeth Åsbrink's 1947 has been picked as one of the best non-fiction titles published in the UK in 2017 by daily newspaper Metro. Anthony Cummins writes: "From Sweden comes this globe-trotting factual narrative tracing the poisonous fallout from World War II with novelistic flair. With a reporter’s nose for detail...

02 nov 2017

2017 Freedom Pen to Elisabeth Åsbrink

Elisabeth Åsbrink has been awarded the 2017 Freedom Pen Prize by the Torgny Segerstedt Foundation. Since its establishment in 1996, the Torgny Segerstedt Foundation has annually awarded The Freedom Pen to a communicator working in the spirit of Torgny Segerstedt. Earlier recipients of the prize include Astrid Lindgren, Eva Moberg...

20 apr 2017

The Letterstedt Author prize for Elisabeth Åsbrink!

We are proud to welcome author and journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink to our agency and at the same time congratulate her to The Letterstedt Author prize (Letterstedska författarpriset) that she has been awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for her book 1947. Where now begins. Congratulations, Elisabeth! More to...