The Emigrants-series, by Vilhelm Moberg

Vilhelm Moberg Vilhelm Mobergis one of the greatest Swedish writers ever. His epic of Swedish emigration to the United States is considered one of his best works. It includes The Emigrants (1949, tr. 1951), Unto a Good Land (1952, tr. 1954), The Settlers (1956), and The Last Letter to Sweden (1959, tr. 1961). Other interesting books by Moberg are Memory of Youth, Ride This Night!, A Time on Earth, and When I Was a Child .

Two films based on these novels, The Emigrants (1970) and The New Land (1972), appeared in 1973. They were directed by Jan Troell. Among Moberg's most well known plays are Our Unborn Son (1945) and Fulfillment (tr. 1953). Moberg also wrote A History of the Swedish People (2 vol., 1920-76, tr. 1972-73).

The Emigrants, by Vilhelm Moberg

The Emigrants (Utvandrarna) is an epic work of historical fiction. This beautifully written book of historical fiction was first published in the early nineteen fifties and met with rave reviews at the time.

The Emigrants, by Vilhelm Moberg The focus in The Emigrants is on the family, relatives, and friends of Karl Oscar Nilsson. Karl Oskar Nilsson grew up in Smaland, Sweden. He was a peasant farmer who unceasingly worked his farm, only to find that, no matter what he did, he could not progress and would continue to live on the cusp of total poverty. Seeing no other way out, he, as so many others from the Scandinavian countries, gathers up his family and friends in order to take the monumental step of making a fresh start by emigrating to the United States of America.

We witness first hand the set backs the Nilsson family encounters in Sweden, and learn to understand how they could be willing to take such a big and consequential decision. We learn, as well, to understand the Swedish social and religious mores of the time, and thus the impact that they have on people.

Karl Oskar finds himself leading a band of likeminded people, all leaving for different reasons and with different expectations. This is the story of their experiences in Sweden, and their dangerous crossing aboard an overcrowded schooner.

The Emigrants is the story of the first leg of their journey: Their lives in Sweden, the motives for the huge decision they each made, and their tough sea voyage across the Atlantic. It is a book about hardship and struggle, and it is a great work of historical fiction. Vilhelm Moberg did considerable research into the subject and the result sheds important light on the exodus from Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular.

You can also order Vilhelm Moberg's books from amazon UK (the pictures of the books link to amazon US): The Emigrants (Emigrant Novels), Unto a Good Land (The Emigrants, Book 2), The Settlers (Emigrant Novels) and The Last Letter Home (Emigrant Novels). Also, amazon UK carries A History of the Swedish People: From Prehistory to the Renaissance v. 1 and A History of the Swedish People: From Renaissance to Revolution v. 2.

Unto a Good Land, by Vilhelm Moberg

In Unto a Good Land (Invandrarna) the small group of seasick Swedish passengers - the Nilsson family and friends - arrives in the promised land, in the great American city of New York. Unto a Good Land, by Vilhelm Moberg

They journey from New York to Minnesota, where so many immigrants went. The journey took them across the Midwest by rail, steamer and foot. And when they arrived, it was in the wilds in the area that later became Minnesota.

In this wilderness the Nilsson family and their friends struggle to make new homes and build new lives. The early struggles of the Nilsson family to succeed in what was an unknown frontier is told with insight and passion by Moberg in Unto a Good Land.

The Settlers, by Vilhelm Moberg

The Settlers (Nybyggarna) focuses mainly on The Settlers, by Vilhelm Mobergthe energetic Karl Oskar Nilsson and his wife, Kristina, and how they go about building their new life in this new, alien and sometimes rather harsh environment. The Nilsson family struggled to prevail in Minnesota, an alien land of harsh, inhospitable winters and scorching summers.

The Settlers tells the story of their lives, their adaptation to the new foreign country that they would forever call home. And it tells the story of the divided Nilsson brothers, each of whom would forge a path alien to the other.

Moberg gives an honest, un-gloryfied look into the situation of settlers. Thus, he also shows how early settlers were subject to being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous.

Emigrant Swedes contributed greatly to Minnesota. Moberg shows how Swedish settlers consolidated themselves into a thriving, bustling community, despite the obstacles and hardships. And he shows how they fought to make the new land yield to their will. The Settlers is a monument to their work.

The Last Letter Home, by Vilhelm Moberg

This final book in the series, The Last Letter Home, (Sista brevet till Sverige) deals with years of wars - the years of the American Civil War and the Indian wars. Through the letters of the immigrants to home Moberg shows how their ties to old country gradually loosen - their language become a mixture of Swedish and English.

The Last Letter Home, by Vilhelm Moberg The Swedish settlement is improving, there is church and school. A new community has been created. But their existence is not secure. American is fighting American, and in their of state, the Dakota Indians become tired of the treatment they are receiving at the hands of the United States and rise to drive out the white people from the soil of their fore-fathers.

And people have died. Robert - the gold digger who never found any gold, and others. The first settlers are old and dying. Karl Oscar agonizes over whether or not to join in the defense of his new country. Karl Oscar still writes letters to Sweden, but less and less often. And he talks more and more of a new life and a new country. The immigrants have been changed by America. The Last Letter Home follows tthe emigrants up to where the new generation grows up and becomes Americans.

As in the other books, the characters are real - human and fragile- and the reader experiences pain, suffering and pleasure with them. It is a wonderful series, a monument of an historical novel, and an exceptionally great series to read, and The Last Letter Home gives it the ending it deserves.

Also by Vilhelm Moberg: A History of the Swedish People: Volume II: From Renaissance to Revolution and A History of the Swedish People: Volume 1: From Prehistory to the Renaissance.

You may also want to read about the history of Norwegian emigrants in the wonderful Rolvaag's Giants of the Earth.

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