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What Happened to Sweden? - While America Became the Only Superpower. Paperback – Sep 20 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Nordstjernan-Swedish News (Sept. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967217644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967217642
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,718,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 10 2009
Format: Paperback
Sweden was once a European power to be reckoned with, whose empire included much of the Baltic States, Finland and parts of Pomerania which is now divided between Germany and Poland. The country's decline in prominence is examined in this short history that also serves to compare Sweden with the United States. The author identifies major differences like the one's uniformity and obsession with equality & security to the other's freedom, work ethic & opportunity. Once almost universally admired, Scandinavia's model welfare state does not look so attractive anymore.

Sweden's controversial role during World War II is explored, when it had a roaring trade with both the Allies and Axis. It profited enormously during and after the war, having maintained uncomfortably close relations to Nazi Germany. The wealth was used to fund socialistic programmes that constantly increased tax rates and the size of government whilst giving the unions unprecedented influence. The Social Democratic Party ruled the country for most of the 20th century in close co-operation with the wealthy Wallenberg Family who at one stage was estimated to indirectly control up to a third of the gross national product.

In the 2006 general election a Moderate coalition defeated the Social Democrats; the new government is attempting to make Sweden more competitive and less bureaucratic. Nilson compares the attitudes of the two countries to religion, conformity and the expression of dissent. He holds a highly critical view of Sweden's foreign policy, especially under the anti-American Olof Palme who embraced and praised all kinds of dictators and revolutionary movements while having a secret agreement with NATO.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad introduction to Swedish politics Sept. 5 2008
By A. Kazimierczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife is Swedish, and I bought this book so that I might learn something about Sweden (and because I thought she might like it too). We both read it, and it's a mixed bag. The book is short but reads like a school textbook/CNN teleprompter sometimes and is quite biased (anti-Social Democrats). Still I like a lot of what it says and if you take the editorial sections with a grain of salt it is a more honest depiction of the Swedish socio-political evolution than you'll ever see again from a Swedish source.

My wife was insulted by some of the statements early in the book because they took a brutally honest view of the national heroes of early Swedish history instead of venerating them as saints. The author goes on to chronicle the journey of Sweden into socialism and the massive government machine that evolved to serve itself. Fascinating stuff!

I'm sad to say that the editing is truly horrible-- spelling errors and punctuation blunders abound (painfully at times). But if you can wade through that and the sometimes resoundingly pro-American rhetoric (obviously written before the U.S. economy sagged) then you'll find a unique perspective on Sweden that will tickle the brains of Swedes and non-Swedes alike.
68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The State and the Capital working hand in hand towards the same goal April 2 2008
By Thomas Wikman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Close to midnight on February 28 1986 Olof Palme the radical social democratic prime minister of Sweden was assassinated. I was sleeping in a tent with my platoon north of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden at the time. My parents, my family and my relatives were for the most part staunch Palme supporters, so this came as a shock to them and to me. The next morning a few of my army friends came up to me and said something like "Isn't it great to have that ba*st*rd gone!" I wondered why they would think like this, and they replied "Thomas admit that Sweden's foreign policy will inevitably be a lot more decent after this". I had not thought much about foreign policy at the time so I said nothing. I should say that even though I now agree that Olof Palme's foreign policy was a disaster, I respect his memory, and I do not agree with how these young guys expressed themselves. I am mentioning this anecdote because the foreign policy of Olof Palme is harshly criticized in Ulf Nilson's book.

This book gives a brief summary of the history of Sweden with the focus being on its interaction with the United States. The book compares the two countries. Ulf Nilson summarizes Sweden with these three words; Security, Uniformity, Equality
He summarizes the Unites States with these three words; Freedom, Work, Opportunity.

I should add that most of the content of this book are well known facts and most of it was not news to me. However, the Wallenberg foundation and the Social Democratic Eugenics program were things I did not know much about. The sentiments expressed in the book are also not uncommon among Swedish emigrants to the United States and more conservative Swedes. However, the book is controversial in Sweden.

The book also discusses the following differences;
* Sweden is anti-religious while the U.S. is welcoming of religion,
* Sweden has a big welfare system while the U.S. is more Capitalistic.
* Sweden is small and not very influential, while the Unites States is a reluctant super power
* Swedes are encouraged to think uniformly and dissent is not often appreciated while the United States is a very open society.

It should be noted that the fact that the U.S. is a super power places it in a predicament in which it is often more or less forced to act. Since Sweden is not very influential this is a difficult reality to grasp from a Swedish perspective. These differences in themselves will cause some ill feelings in Sweden towards the United States. This was especially noticeable in the 50's, 60's, and 70's and again today.

Ulf Nilson is critical of the Social Democrats, Swedish foreign policy, Olof Palme, and the welfare system that the Social Democrats built. He is also critical of the Swedish immigration policy that he believes is bad for the country. He describes actions that the Social Democrats took in the past to build the Swedish Welfare system which may not have been so great.

* The forced sterilization of women who were at risk of becoming a burden to the welfare system. Thousands of primarily women were sterilized against their will every year up until the 1950's to ensure that there would not be too many dependent on welfare. To be selected for this procedure not only meant that you could not have children but it was also hurtful to be considered "not fit". This policy resulted in many tears. This was not a racist or anti-Semitic policy. It was targeted towards anyone who might not have productive offspring of any race or creed.

* Swedish politicians (Social Democrats) considered both the allies and the Germans to be war mongers and stayed neutral during World War II. During this time Sweden profited from doing extensive business with both Allies and the Nazis.

* The behind the scenes deal with the Wallenberg's. A special foundation was created which enabled the Wallenberg's to take over the majority of the Swedish enterprise in exchange for their cooperation and assistance to the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats did not want a repeat of the economic failure and needed the skill and knowledge and capital the Wallenberg's could provide. In the long run this turned out to be good for Sweden, but it was secret, and is also a major reason why Socialism worked in this case. This is something to be aware of. As a side note, the other financial families mostly disappeared, and Wallenberg is not Jewish despite the name.

* A central registry was created which contained extensive information on all Swedish residents (no exceptions). It is based on so called personal numbers, which is similar to Social Security numbers in the U.S. but a lot more than just a Social Security number, and mandatory. This is both good and bad. The registry makes welfare fraud and tax evasion harder, and paying taxes in Sweden is easy. Typically you just sign your name since all your incomes (salary, interest etc), and deductions, health status, etc, are known.

There were other reasons for the success of the Swedish welfare system, like Swedes conform easily, are very homogenous, some luck, geography, the Marshall Plan, and the protection provided by the United States. Therefore Ulf Nilson does not believe that the Swedish welfare system is sustainable in the long run.

However, what Ulf Nilson seem to criticize the most is the Swedish/Social Democratic foreign policy, especially that of Olof Palme. During most of the second half of the 20th century the Swedish foreign policy was basically "accept the protection of the Americans, but try to ruin everything that the Americans are trying to achieve, other than that we are completely neutral." Add to that, that Western Europeans were viewed as reactionary by the Social Democrats and Communists and that anyone participating in a war was viewed as a war monger independent of the side or the reason. It was a simplistic but logical stand point for a neutral socialist country which needed an excuse as to why they assisted both the Nazis and the Allies but did not take sides.

The Swedish Social Democrats were socialists and clearly sympathetic with third world revolutionaries including communists. The Swedish left cheered for Vietcong, and Fidel Castro, and there were Social Democratic politicians who gave Pol Pot support while he slaughtered his own people. Olof Palme took this radical policy further than any prime minister before him had.

If this review has made you think that Sweden is a one party state, I can add that, that is almost true. The Social Democrats has won almost every election, and when they didn't the alternative acted just like the Social Democrats. Until some years ago, when you joined the largest union (which you had to if you were a blue collar worker) you automatically became a member of the Social Democratic party. In Sweden you also vote for a party not a candidate, in fact you may not even know who your candidate is.

It should also be noted that all TV and Radio used to be state controlled, and political indoctrination was a fact. When I was a kid it was essentially the communists who controlled the children's programming on channel 2 (there were two channels). As a personal note, I remember the following children's program that I watched as a kid. A boy refused to eat his pancake and while he sat and stared at it, it turned into a pancake land full of little dolls. Little Vilse was a nice good little doll, while the big potato grouch was a mean and selfish troll. At the end of the episodes it was explained the Little Vilse was Vietnam and the potato grouch was the United States. Then a group of happily dancing and singing children danced around a water table filled with American symbols slowly sinking into water. The Hoola Bandoola band provided the music.

This indoctrination has had its consequences. I had some communist friends who justified the multi million mass killings that occurred in communist countries. They were after all counter revolutionaries or backward religious people. Sweden is also unique in that religious belief has been almost entirely eradicated. On a personal note, I think indoctrination still lingers among the Swedish population.

It is not often that you see a book written by a well known Swede criticizing the Social Democrats and the Wallenberg's and Swedish foreign policy as harshly as this book. However, it is not an Anti-Swedish book and it is not a Pro-American book either, it is more of an Anti-Social Democrat book with a wakeup call for fellow Swedes who don't get it. In general I think Swedes need to be more understanding of the differences between the United States and Sweden and should perhaps not be so quick to assume that typically Swedish thinking is always correct.

Ulf Nilsson is a well known Swedish journalist that has covered international events during his long career. He also says good things about Ronald Reagan, and he clearly likes the United States, even though he also criticizes the United States. He has now left Sweden. I am a Swede who has left for America my self and I have to say that I agree with almost all his opinions and observations. I admit that I like the United States better than Sweden at this point. Moving from Sweden and than coming back a second time with wife and kid was a big eye opener for me. That does not mean that Sweden is not a great country. The Swedish welfare system has many good points to it as well, and the Social Democrats have become more realistic. There are also many beautiful places to visit in Sweden.
26 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is a candy-coated Neo-conservative manifesto Aug. 5 2008
By Ben Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That's right - and one of the basic premises of this book, that Swedish socialism is detrimental to economic viability, is being destroyed by the global financial crisis, in which the antithesis of this socialism, American laissez-faire capitalism, is taking a beating, from which it may never recover, as such. Meanwhile Sweden's economy and markets are inherently stable, except for the effects of outside forces.

As a work of literature it is very poorly as well. It is a book of his own "hand-picked" statistics (there are no footnotes or reference at all in this book) to support Nilson's near-neurotic self-deprecating opinion of his motherland, which he still visits every year, so it can't be all that bad of a country.

Although, I must admit the book is easy to read, and does have some interesting trivia.

Mark Twain said something like, "There's liars, damned liars, and statisticians" (especially without references.) Although pathetically, Nilson obviously doesn't see himself as a liar.

This book is very little about Sweden. Oh, yes there is some history of Sweden along with Europe and the U.S., but mostly it is about Western politics, including Swedish politics, trickle-down economics, and power, much according to Nilson's right-wing perspective. He ruthlessly criticizes Sweden's economic, military, and political systems, but never mentions things like the fact that Sweden (and most other developed countries) have a much higher birth-survival rate than the U.S., and never mentions that Sweden is a world leader in the regulation/banning of toxin carcinogens, neurotoxins, etc., like the bromated flame-retardants, particularly Deca, for which the American Chemical Council has sued Sweden in the EU for banning, yet Sweden was unmoved. They needed to protect their recycling workers. One wishes our government was that concerned for its citizens.

There is virtually nothing in this book about Swedish culture, per se.

Neither does Nilson mention that Sweden, along with Finland and Norway, were pioneers in forcing Big Oil to produce low-sulphur deisel fuel, 10 years or so before the EU embraced the idea. And of course, now the oil companies are running "blue skies" TV ads, introducing the sale of low-sulphur deisel fuel to the USA, as if it were their own environmentally-friendly idea. Sweden has been a leader in the movement to ban the fire-retardant family of PBDEs, similar to DDT in that they don't break down, but are found in everyone's blood and pequins in Antartica.

Nilson never mentions the fact that Sweden is also the world leader in recycling, and that the TCO certifications of manufactured products (from their Professional Workers Union) is the only one of its kind in the world, helping U.S. companies make products assuring consumers that they are avoiding toxic vapors and dust particles in the air, and toxic environmental waste in our landfills, wells, and waterways.

Many non-government, non-industrial researchers in U.S. and Europe believe such environment toxins have helped launch the modern epidemic of chronic degenerative diseased, like cancers, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, etc. and hundreds of other degenerative conditions of "unknown origin" (industrial ignorance is bliss.) But then again, Neocons right-wingers, insurance companies and corporations have never been big on regulation of industrial toxins. It is easier for them to blame God or genetics for those who acquire illness and slow death, and besides, they sell more drugs, and avoid liability.

Believe it or not, Ulf Nilson suggests there was a good reason for the Viet Nam War, and actually credits that War with contributing to the fall of Communism in the USSR, circa 1990. That should make every decent redneck hawk feel that it was not-for-nothin'.

"Great news" that over 2 million Asians and 50,000+ young GIs didn't die for nothing after all (not to mention the physically and mentally disabled, and the contamination of the soil with Agent Orange, still causing high cancer and birth defect rates here and in Viet Nam.) But that is another lie Nilson tells. The truth (among get-real people) is that this country and the world would be better off had the Viet Nam War never happened. Gulf of Tonkin crisis, was deliberately manufactured by Johnson to spoil for a fight. It didn't exist, we now learned.

The Swedes were decades ahead of us for opposing Viet Nam at the time. IMO Johnson's War was not much better than the Saddam Hussein butchery (Saddam Hussein was our strategic friend at the time he gassed the Iranians and the Kurds.)

Nilson also insinuates that Bush had no choice but to invade Iraq...I quote, p.175.

"...George W. Bush was labeled the most hated President in history...It [U.S. under Bush] will always be criticized for doing too little or too much...It will always be lonesome at the top, but is there an alternative? I think not."

Not to mention the estimated 200,000-300,000 civilian uncounted deaths from our regime change/occupation (see [...] for the 86,000-94,000 officially counted deaths) and the countless injured and disabled, the cancer/birth defect rate in Iraq will be higher for centuries to come from our depleted uranium bullets and shells, well over 700 tons from both Gulf Wars. Darn those Swedes for overreacting and being so overly-sensitive. They don't even see the great work our troops are doing.

Like most Neoconservatives, Nilson propagates fear in this book very well. He portrays the Swedes as docile sitting ducks, watching as the Moslem immigrant rapists invade his country like barbarian invaders of the Roman empire, turning cities into slums, (again, he offers no official statistics or references.)

However,Nilson fails to mention that Sweden gave asylum to some 30,000 Iraqi refugees of our invasion, occupation, and sectarian ethnic-cleansing that followed.

During that same time Iraqi refugee entry into the U.S. was denied to all but some 150 Iraqis (probably friends of Chalabi.) For years now, U.S. entry has been denied to those Iraqis and their families who are fleeing the threat of death for being marked as "American collaborators" by the insurgency, for being translators, etc., and helping our military forces succeed. Many of them were tortured and killed waiting for a visa. Nilson conveniently avoids the fact that the U.S. used these Iraqis and then abandoned them in their time of need, like used toilet paper.

This book was written before the entire U.S. economy collapsed as a leveraged house-of-cards, a la Enron. That being said, most of Nilson's idol praise of America's relatively laissez-faire economic system is obsolete, and is being proven bogus as I write this review. Nilson's contempt for government safety nets that compensate for the misfortunes of the poor and disabled is thinly-veiled.

Nilson avoids the subject of American corporate welfare, insidious corporate tax breaks, and Wall Street Bailouts, but criticizes the "waste" of the Sweden's social investments, which is dwarfed by comparison, even per capita.

While Nilson dedicates much of the book opining that government social investment is out-of-control in Sweden, he hints that he may spend his last elderly years in a nursing home in Sweden. Is this hypocrisy or what?

Technically the book is sloppily finished, with many typos (nobody proof-read it?), no index, no bibliography, no footnotes and no references for all his remarkable claims, insinuations, and biased criticisms.

I am sure the people who liked this book are all right-wing neoconservatives, although they may not like that label applied to themselves. Read these reviews carefully.

I will say the book is easy to read and does contain some interesting trivia, and history, although I am not sure I can believe everything he says. It begins interesting and innocuous enough, but soon gets nasty. His views are so warped, and one-sided, it was painfully tantalizing to finish this book.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Naïve, lacks intellectual depth June 8 2008
By Martina Sprague - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author of this book, Ulf Nilson, states that he is "not out to convince anybody about anything" (p. 13). My review will therefore be based on the assumption that the author intended for the book to be a well-researched, informative, and balanced historical account of Sweden's political system, rather than a loosely defined conglomerate of personal opinions and ideas.

During my reading of this book I found several weaknesses in the author's renditions. For example, the author uses terms that are no doubt intended to be derogatory, while failing to support them with factual sources. He describes former kings and political leaders as "fat" (p. 18), "homosexual" (p. 19), or engaged in "bigamy" (p. 44). Such statements hardly seem relevant to the leadership and political skills of the person in question and ought not be mentioned; that is, unless the author intentionally attempts to mix apples with oranges and indeed steer the less educated reader toward a prejudice view of Sweden's historical leadership.

Some of the examples that the author provides makes it appear as though his thinking has stagnated in the `50s. An example is his statement that all major decisions are made "within a group of perhaps 50-100 people, almost all of them men" (p. 12). It is a well-known fact that women have always held inferior social and political positions in all countries of the world, and continue to do so. But credit should be given where it is due. Sweden is continuously striving toward gender equality, much as a direct result of the efforts of the former visionary Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Today, Sweden, along with the other Nordic countries, enjoys greater gender equality than any other country in the world. For example, according to 2006 statistics, women hold 47% of the seats in the Swedish parliament (source: Sveriges Riksdag Faktablad). Much has happened since the 1950s, `60s, and `70s. By comparison, as of today, only 16% of the U.S. Senate is female. Likewise, only 16.3% of the House of Representatives is female (source: Eagleton Institute of Politics).

A major weakness is the author's failure to place events in historical context. For example, throughout the country's history, the citizens of Sweden have experienced a great deal of poverty and oppression by their leaders. Likewise, slavery in America was not unique to our country when it was first implemented. What should be emphasized, however, is not that such distasteful practices took place, but that it took the United States until 1964 to sign into effect the Civil Rights Act outlawing segregation. Perhaps even more remarkable is that in 2008, people still question whether or not America is "ready" for an African-American president! When placed in historical context, what happened in most countries of the world hundreds of years ago is not what makes a country unique; it is not the past enslavement of the black population that makes America unique. Rather, it is our inability TODAY to view the black man and woman as our equal that makes us unique in a negative sense. This is truly shameful.

The author correctly states that Sweden might be the "least religious country in the Europe of today." Many Swedes do indeed view religion as a "ridiculous kind of superstition" (p. 40). Whether this is good or bad depends on whether one would rather view the world from a standpoint of education and logic, or from a standpoint of subjective morality and "faith." Swedes, as do most educated Europeans, mock the idea of teaching creationism in the science classroom. I agree with the Swedes. Americans, despite our good intentions in our strife for that elusive concept we call "freedom," have an undue phobia of atheists, communists, and homosexuals. Let me mention that Sweden never adhered to a communist philosophy. For example (and this is only one example of many), during the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, Sweden responded with anti-Soviet propaganda and decided to assist Finland against the Soviet invasion of the Karelian Isthmus by sending the country an 8,000-man strong volunteer force in addition to material help. Moreover, anti-Soviet/anti-communist Swedes set on fire the offices of Norrskensflamman, the newspaper of the Swedish Communist Party. The military leadership in Luleå in northern Sweden, in conjunction with the Committee for Finland and the Socialist Party, formed a coalition for the purpose of defeating and closing down the Communist Party newspaper (source: Vasa Gymnasiet: Om Motstånd och Kollaboration - Sverige Under 30- och 40-Talen). Although individual politicians such as Olof Palme and the Swedish people in general have spoken out against certain American foreign policies, in modern times perhaps most notably the Vietnam War which was also heavily protested within the United States by our own citizens, Sweden has always stood on the side of America and the rest of the Western industrialized world. It is short-sighted to presume that Sweden was friendlier toward the former Soviet Union and communism than it was toward the capitalistic United States.

With respect to the view that Sweden is essentially a one-party state, which the author hints at several times throughout the book, seven political parties whose views vary relatively little are currently represented in the Swedish parliament (source: Sveriges Riksdag). The reason why the Social Democratic Party (or left-wing coalition in recent years) has held power almost consistently in the last century (although the right-wing coalition is currently in charge), is because the Swedish people at large are social democratic at heart and have with overwhelming majority chosen representation by the Social Democratic Party in free elections. Or, as is written in Swedish law: "All public power in Sweden rests with the people" (source: Handbok för Förvaltningsmyndigheter). I suspect that even Ulf Nilson would agree that, regardless of one's personal political views, going against the wishes of the majority would be utterly undemocratic.

Folkhemmet, loosely described on p. 53, is admittedly an idealistic concept and, as history will attest, any idealistic view is exceedingly difficult to implement with full success. Whether Sweden reaches it or not is less important, however, than is the recognition that every one of us, regardless of which country we call home, will face the same basic needs throughout our life's journey. As Olof Palme so eloquently stated in a speech at Harvard in 1984: "During the course of life, we all meet the same challenges: to grow up and be educated; to find playmates and friends; to prepare ourselves for our different roles in adult life and make our own living; to find somewhere to live and make it into a home; to form a family and bring up children; to keep healthy throughout life and cope with illness and other misfortunes that may beset us; to secure a decent living and preserve our dignity for the inevitable frailty of old age; to live as free citizens, equal with other members of society; and to take a share in being responsible for the common good" (source: ABC Klubben: Idepolitikern Palme). The idea of Folkhemmet is primarily about the open acknowledgement that, although all people of the world will face similar paths from cradle to grave, they will undoubtedly face different degrees of hardship and strife. It is therefore the responsibility of the government in cooperation with the people to provide every citizen with the assurance that he or she can live in security in his or her own country, and have his or her basic needs satisfied: adequate food, shelter, education, healthcare, and happiness.

Much more ought to be said. However, for fear of being overly lengthy, let me end by stating that the book's main weakness is the author's strong personal bias and lack of balance. I disagree here with the other reviewers; the author is either naïve or is trying to appeal to an audience who is. Chapters 9 and 10 were by far the best balanced chapters. The author would also have benefited from listing the sources whenever making statements that are intended as factual. It would have given him more credibility. For example, how does the author know that "[n]either the defense forces, nor the police, have any good idea of how to defend [Sweden's] . . . nuclear power plants against terrorist attacks"? (p. 178) Although everyone is entitled to an opinion--admittedly, the Social Democrats have come close to overstepping their boundaries a number of times; for example, regarding the Wage Earner Funds (p. 130), but the people voiced their displeasure at the idea--in order for a literary work to be considered educational and informative, concepts such as neutrality, Olof Palme's idea of social security, the subordination of the church to the state, etc., must undergo critical analysis, which means that they must be examined from multiple viewpoints; the good must be examined along with the bad. This is where the author fails. (For the record, it is partly because of the subordination of the church to the state that women gained greater equality and could become priests and bishops; an event which Ulf Nilson views as unjust (p. 104). In a modern democratic country, however, it should go without saying that all citizens--ALL OF THEM including the female half--should have equal rights. If the U.S. had true separation of church and state, rather than just in theory, restricting abortion, for example, would not be a political issue; it would apply only to the people who freely choose to go to church.) The book's main strength is its controversial nature, which makes it at least a moderately intriguing read for those with interests in political/social history and debate, and which is why it gets two stars rather than one.

Oh, one more thing: The author has consistently stated throughout the book that the uniformity of the political system and the welfare state make Sweden a stagnant society where it is nearly impossible to pull ahead, even if one works hard. I found it interesting that the statistics listed on p. 170 conclude that the United States has 313 billionaires in U.S. dollars, while Sweden has 9 billionaires in U.S. dollars. Hmmm . . . if my math isn't completely off, that gives Sweden exactly the same percentage billionaires as the United States. Sweden has after all only 9 million people, while the U.S. has 300 million.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweden and the US Compared Jan. 2 2008
By Grunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ulf Nilson's "What Happened to Sweden?" is one of the most informative books I've picked up in many years. Having been married to a Swede for over thirty years and spent considerable time there, a number of unspoken questions have developed regarding Swedish society and thought processes. While "What Happened to Sweden?" doesn't answer them all, it gives considerable insight into how the country developed, and why things are the way they are.
Only a Swede - one who loves his country, and has spent considerable time away from it - could have written this book. Highly opinionated but balanced, it presents a rare glimpse through exceptionally clear lenses of a land and its people. "What Happened..." is a quick read, but should keep both Swedes and non-Swedes thinking for quite a while. Good things sometimes come in small packages, and this one could have been a lot bigger. It's a long overdue breath of fresh air from the North.