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One of Us
The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway
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A harrowing and thorough account of the massacre that upended Norway, and the trial that helped put the country back togetherOn July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government...
A harrowing and thorough account of the massacre that upended Norway, and the trial that helped put the country back togetherOn July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government...
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  • A harrowing and thorough account of the massacre that upended Norway, and the trial that helped put the country back together

    On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government buildings in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of Norway's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and what led up to it. What made Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become a terrorist?
    As in her bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul, Seierstad excels at the vivid portraiture of lives under stress. She delves deep into Breivik's troubled childhood, showing how a hip-hop and graffiti aficionado became a right-wing activist and Internet game addict, and then an entrepreneur, Freemason, and self-styled master warrior who sought to "save Norway" from the threat of Islam and multiculturalism. She writes with equal intimacy about Breivik's victims, tracing their political awakenings, aspirations to improve their country, and ill-fated journeys to the island. By the time Seierstad reaches Utøya, we know both the killer and those he will kill. We have also gotten to know an entire country—famously peaceful and prosperous, and utterly incapable of protecting its youth.

About the Author-

  • Åsne Seierstad is an award-winning Norwegian journalist and writer known for her work as a war correspondent. She is the author of The Bookseller of Kabul, One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, and Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya. She lives in Oslo, Norway.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 2, 2015
    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 Utøya, 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.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2015
    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 book-a 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 fact-as a result, it packs all the frightening power of a good horror novel.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2014
    An award-winning Norwegian journalist who won attention here with "The Bookseller of Kabul", Seierstad seeks to discover how gifted, affluent, but troubled young hip-hop fan Anders Breivik became a right-wing activist who killed eight people on July 22, 2011, by detonating a bomb outside some government buildings in Oslo, then slaughtered 69 more at a youth camp on the island of Utoya. As she examines the trial, Seierstad aims to show how a country torn apart managed to put itself back together.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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