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REVIEW: Culture Unbound: Americanization and Everyday Life in Sweden.


Prior to seeing this book I had heard from some Finnish colleagues that Swedes are considered to be 'the Americans of Europe.' I put much of this charming description down to a bit of 'Nordic rivalry' between the two neighbouring countries, but then author Tom O'Dell came out with a book examining Americanization and the effect it has on life in Sweden.

When you start thinking about it and contrasting Sweden's capital Stockholm and smaller towns to the comparative capital cities and smaller towns of Finland, Denmark and Norway it can all start to make sense. Sweden does look, feel and maybe even sound more Americanized than the others. Whether that is a good or a bad thing may be down to individual preference or prejudice.

Written in a fairly dry academic tone this book is heavy going in places. Certainly the author has not gone for the sensationalist approach and has taken great care in detailing his research sources and backing up his opinions. Many of the points raised are very good ones which seem to explain many things that I've noticed, perhaps thought about but never rationalised over. For example, why do Swedish males seem to have such a close affinity and interest to classic American cars?

Sadly, I don't think this book will have 'universal appeal' due to its academic nature, which is a shame as it has a great number of points to make without resorting to a sensationalist approach.

CONCLUSION: Some thought-provoking comments on a possible sensitive subject make this book a very interesting read.

Title: Culture Unbound: Americanization and Everyday Life in Sweden Author: Tom O'Dell Published by: Nordic Academic Press ISBN: 91-89116-02-X Price: SEK226 Reviewer: Darren Ingram
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Title Annotation:a book by Tom O'Dell
Author:Ingram, Darren
Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUSW
Date:Jan 11, 2002
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