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


Overview -

A WITTY, INFORMATIVE, AND POPULAR TRAVELOGUE ABOUT THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES AND HOW THEY MAY NOT BE AS HAPPY OR AS PERFECT AS WE ASSUME
Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media.  Read more...


 
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More About The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth
 
 
 
Overview

A WITTY, INFORMATIVE, AND POPULAR TRAVELOGUE ABOUT THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES AND HOW THEY MAY NOT BE AS HAPPY OR AS PERFECT AS WE ASSUME
Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. In this timely book he leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success, and, most intriguing of all, what they think of one another.
Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? In "The Almost Nearly Perfect People" Michael Booth explains who the Scandinavians are, how they differ and why, and what their quirks and foibles are, and he explores why these societies have become so successful and models for the world. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades. They may very well be almost nearly perfect, but it isn't easy being Scandinavian.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250061966
  • ISBN-10: 1250061962
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Travel > Essays & Travelogues
Books > Travel > Europe - Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Sweden)
Books > Travel > Europe - Iceland & Greenland

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-11-24
  • Reviewer: Staff

In his latest cultural exploration, British journalist and travel writer Booth (Eat Pray Eat) covers the countries that invariably dominate the top ten lists of best/healthiest/most egalitarian places to live: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Beginning with his adopted home of Denmark, Booth sets out to address whether the quality of life in Nordic countries is really so high, and if so, why. He describes the Danes’ relaxed attitude toward work and their almost aggressive egalitarianism. The latter is a trait shared by many of their Nordic neighbors and epitomized by the Jante Law (a Danish ten commandments of sorts), which states that one shouldn’t think he’s better than anyone else and that no one should be made fun of. That’s tough for Booth, whose dry wit permeates the book, but he skillfully avoids mockery (he treats Icelanders’ persistent belief in elves with restraint). Norway’s “decentralized population of small, isolated communities speaking hundreds of regional dialects, coupled with a heightened respect for their natural surroundings, are two of the keys to understanding the Norwegians,” Booth writes. But he also discovers some chinks in the utopian armor: isolationism, persistent racism, a distrust of foreigners, and growing fissures in a classless society (as more and more Danish parents steer their children toward private schools, for example). Booth has written an immersive, insightful, and often humorous examination of a most curious culture. (Feb.)

 
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