Contributor archive

Articles written by Anders Björnsson

Traveling through the German historical landscape A talk with Mary Fulbrook

In her book on the East German experiment, The People’s State, Fulbrook launched a concept that owes a lot to her life-long preoccupation with Max Weber’s theories of Herrschaft. She calls it “participatory dictatorship”. An unbelievably large proportion of the population — roughly one in six, she calculated — took an active part in activities that had to be carried out to uphold the political system as such.

By Anders Björnsson April 29, 2014

TOLERANCE AND TRUST Reflections on Some Scandinavian Values and Experiences

“Weber talks of a Tischgemeinschaft, where you can eat and drink and pray. At the table people, or rather the male population, got to know each other, have faith in one another. Coming together, sharing bread and views, wine and troubles, without risk of being beaten, but with the prospect of enhancing one’s knowledge and wellbeing — what is this, if not tolerance? It wouldn’t be totally wrong to see an Eranos conference as a Weberian Tischgemeinschaft.".

By Anders Björnsson August 8, 2013

The relativity of suffering. One of the last century’s greatest realists at work

+ Vasily Grossman, Everything Flows, Editor and translator: , Robert Chandler, New York, New York Review of Books 2009, 253 pages

+ Vasily Grossman, The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays, Editor and translator: , Robert Chandler, New York, New York Review of Books 2010, 373 pages

By Anders Björnsson May 17, 2013

The human hunt that nearly paralyzed the party. A microstudy of Soviet mass terror

Wendy Z. Goldman, Inventing the Enemy, Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, Cambridge et al.Cambridge University Press 2011, 320 pages

By Anders Björnsson April 12, 2012

On the desirability of industrial capitalism and autocracy. A Russian road to modernization

Francis W. Wcislo, Tales of Imperial Russia, The Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849–1915, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 314 pages

By Anders Björnsson January 18, 2012

Exodus from Galicia. Inferno of the swindlers and the swindled

Martin Pollack, Kaiser von Amerika: Die grosse Flucht aus Galizien, Vienna: Paul Zsolnay Verlag 2010, 285 pages

By Anders Björnsson October 3, 2011

Stasi watched Sweden during the Cold War

By matching agent lists with agent reports from the Stasi archives, Professor Almgren, who is affiliated with Södertörn University, has delved deeper into issues relating to particular individuals than the Swedish security police have. She has established the incompetence of the Swedish security police and their inability to uncover threats to Sweden at the time.

By Anders Björnsson September 14, 2011


The books I have been asked to briefly comment on are both learned works of indisputable scholarly quality. At the […]

By Anders Björnsson June 30, 2011

On guard against red perils

Max Engman, Gränsfall: Utväxlingar och gränstrafik på Karelska näset 1918–1920 [Borderline case: Exchanges and border traffic on the Karelian isthmus 1918—1920] Helsinki/Stockholm, Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland [Swedish Literature Society in Finland] & Bokförlaget Atlantis 2008, 538 pages

By Anders Björnsson January 11, 2011

János Kornai. What has happened to Hungary in so short a time?

The Hungarian János Kornai is one of Europe’s most respected economists. His name is often mentioned in speculation about the […]

By Anders Björnsson January 11, 2011