Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Journalist Seierstad (The Bookseller of Kabul) delivers a vivid, thoroughly researched, and suspenseful account of the 2011 massacre that killed 77 people in her native Norway. On July 22, Anders Behring Breivik disguised himself as a policeman and set off a bomb in Oslo's government quarter, killing eight. He then made his way to the island of Utoya, where he murdered an additional 69 people, most of them teenagers attending a camp sponsored by Norway's Labour Party. Seierstad's comprehensive investigation examines that fateful day, the events that led up to it, and the trial that followed. She also chronicles the troubled life and radicalization of the convicted killer, the mismanaged police response, and the government's reaction. The book features evocative portraits of some of the victims and brims with vivid descriptions of the villages, city squares, buildings, and fjords of Norway, touching on the country's politics, changing demographics, and cultural shifts. With a reporter's passion for details and a novelist's sense of story, Seierstad's book is at once an unforgettable account of a national tragedy and a lively portrait of contemporary Norway. 8 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Review by Library Journal Review
Journalist Seierstad (The Angel of Grozny) tackles the emotional and tragic story of the Oslo murders committed by Anders Breivik, telling not only the killer's story but the stories of those who lost their lives that fateful day in July 2011. The author's research is based on memories, accounts, communications, and interviews with those intimately involved in the events and is done tastefully, attempting not to dramatize or exaggerate the tragedy but to clearly present the mental and emotional influences that affected Breivik's development and led him and the others to that moment. Also explained is how the nation and those whose families were torn apart dealt with the devastation's aftermath. The subject matter is sensitive and dark; however, Seierstad's approach is straightforward and his tone even. He takes great care to share the narratives and lives of those who became Breivik's victims. This intense work studies one of the most brutal slayings in Norway, recounting the various cultural and socioeconomic influences upon Breivik's maturation. It also tells a clear and detailed description of the perpetrator's mental state and his lifetime of anger and paranoia. VERDICT A powerful read that sociologists, historians, and political science students alike will find very informative. [See Prepub Alert, 10/13/14.]-Elizabeth Zeitz, -Otterbein Univ. Lib., Westerville, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A chilling descent into the mind of mass murderer Anders Breivik."It was only supposed to be an article for Newsweek," writes veteran combat journalist Seierstad (The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War, 2008, etc.) of the origins of this long booka touch too long, in need of some judicious streamlining. The long arm of editor Tina Brown drew Seierstad deep into a story that she'd watched unfold in her native Norway, a country about which she hadn't written before. Her explorations of Breivik, who coldly gunned down 69 people at a youth summer camp after setting off a bomb in Oslo that killed another 8, have the unsettling quality that readers will associate with novelist Stieg Larsson, whose investigative reporting in next-door Sweden turned up a deep-running vein of fanatical right-wing hatreds and xenophobia. In Breivik's case, the metamorphosis from gadabout to obsessive computer gamer and then unmoored killer has no sure inevitability. It could have turned out much differently, but it also might just have had to happen, as Seierstad's portentous opening pages suggest. As neatly as possible, given the complexity of the story, the author unfolds the narrative of a Kurdish refugee family with Breivik's developing anti-Muslim sentiments, seemingly connected with the publication of a fake manifesto promising a Scandinavian jihad. Fakery and invented scenarios form a theme, from forged diplomas to Breivik's certainty that the Marxists were out to get him. What is certain, however, is that his killing spree, described in gruesome detail, was thoroughly and carefully planned from the beginning. On being told that he had disrupted the sense of security that blanketed the quiet nation, Breivik smiled and said, "That's what they call terror, isn't it?" Rather diffuse but thoroughly grounded in documented factas a result, it packs all the frightening power of a good horror novel. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.