Get a FREE Books of the Moment  sampler!
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List
Best Seller
1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink


1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink
Jan 30, 2018 | 288 Pages
See All Formats (1) +
  • Hardcover $25.95

    Jan 30, 2018 | 288 Pages

  • Ebook $16.99

    Jan 30, 2018

Product Details


“When journalist Asbrink was ten, her father left her a letter that was 19 lines long. The first 18 expressed his love; the last sentence said never to pity yourself. When Asbrink writes about 1947, she honors her father and others who disappeared under Nazi rule…During this year, writer Simone de Beauvoir went to the United States and had a passionate affair with writer Nelson Algren. A Swedish fascist created escape routes for Nazi friends. Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan wrote poetry about ultimate loss. Primo Levi’s memoirs were accepted by a publisher. George Orwell began work on his masterpiece, 1984…For the first time, genocide is recognized as a crime…Asbrink weaves personal and historical stories to show how people migrated across the world, unaccepted in their adopted countries…This superb book deserves a wide audience. In telling history through disparate voices, Asbrink effectively descries the seas of change, as times change quicker than people do.” —LIBRARY JOURNAL, *STARRED* REVIEW 

“Unearthing many forgotten details, Åsbrink illuminates this pivotal year after the end of WWII, adroitly revealing how profoundly 1947 shaped the decades that followed. Åsbrink takes an expansive, month-by-month look at world events, from the partitioning of India to escaping SS soldiers in Argentina to the grand mufti of Jerusalem to Billie Holiday topping the charts in DownBeat magazine to Simone de Beauvoir visiting New York for the first time. Åsbrink writes with sardonic passion in an immediately striking tone…A sweeping cacophony of modernity.” —BOOKLIST

“Among innumerable turning points in history, 1947, just two years after World War II ended, is a year worth review. Åsbrink’s book, translated from the Swedish, makes some of that year’s neglected history and high drama tangible and meaningful. With a technique reminiscent of John Dos Passos’ “newsreels,” the author records events from across the world (Paris, Palestine, New York, Los Angeles, Budapest, Berlin, Delhi, etc.), using the present tense to create a sense of immediacy…Throughout the book, Åsbrink artfully selects her narratives…A skillful and illuminating way of presenting, to wonderful effect, the cultural, political, and personal history of a year that changed the world.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Fragments. Portents, foreshadowing. Slowly gathered, sorted. Coalescing. A stream — small, then surging. That was the experience of reading ‘1947: Where Now Begins,’ Elisabeth Åsbrink’s nonfiction account of a momentous year…Åsbrink…collected much of her material from 365 daily editions of Sweden’s largest newspapers…The year and the book begin slowly…but as they roll on,
Åsbrink’s fragments take shape as a coherent form, much as an artwork that creates one large picture by putting together many small ones…Her story develops a power that needs no metaphor to help explain it. It’s a tale of the things that make up the essence of human existence: love, family, uncertainty, horror, belonging. And the question of how we creatures cope when the unthinkable becomes reality.” —MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 

“[I]t is a fascinating, horrifying and illuminating portrayal of circumstances that have impacted the present day, when many of the same feelings, thoughts and actions are, unfortunately, still in existence.” —SHELF AWARENESS

“In this remarkable work of reportage by Elisabeth Åsbrink, Sweden’s premiere literary historian assembles a compelling collage of events from Budapest, Chicago, Paris, Stockolm, Palestine and elsewhere, suggesting in their weave that there was a tipping point in modern history in the year 1947: a year during which the DNA of our modern moment, with its technological fascism and neo-fascism, was seeded to ground. It is a fun book to read in a grim way—Nelson Algren and Eleanor Roosevelt and other figures appear and submerge as the dart of Åsbrink’s attention swerves from one time zone to the next, building a portrait of the assembly of simultaneity.” —LITERARY HUB 

Elisabeth Åsbrink writes sentences that make one gasp in admiration…[1947] should be read for its poetry, its insights, and the interweaving of personal and political judgments.” —SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

“An intriguing account of a number of significant events which occurred in a year when the world was beginning to come to terms with the fallout from the Second World War…Åsbrink deftly brings together the tangle, the mess, the aspirations, and the disappointments which characterized the period and which for her resonate personally through her family history.”Rosemary Ashton, author of One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858 

1947: When Now Begins from Swedish journalist and writer Elisabeth Åsbrink arrives in Australian bookshops to tell that story, and has been lauded for its new way of treating history…Serving as another example of the way non-fiction is providing much of the most innovative approaches to contemporary writing, Åsbrink’s book introduces a series of apparently unrelated episodes from 1947, all of which she sees as having continued resonance into our contemporary world…This is a wonderfully accessible account of a year.” —TRANSMISSION PRESS

“Many works focus on the events and significance of a particular year: Ian Buruma on 1945 and Victor Sebestyen on 1946, or the alarming futurism of George Orwell’s 1984 and Boualem Sansal’s 2084. But the Swedish author Elisabeth Åsbrink has produced something altogether different: a close-up portrait of a year, structured month-by-month, each chapter composed of an apparently random collection of vignettes. Like an image created from a thousand juxtaposed pixels, Åsbrink builds a cumulative picture of 1947 through short reports on, for example, Simone de Beauvoir visiting the United States and falling for fellow author Nelson Algren…Åsbrink makes no claim to being comprehensive, nor does she identify the precise source of all her anecdotes or include an index. Less a work of history, her book is more like an ingeniously constructed novel.” —JEWISH CHRONICLE 

“1947 brings it all into focus…. Informative, provocative and also very personal”  Boston Herald
“Åsbrink writes with a sympathetic voice in an accessible style, yet with an undertone of grief. She uses an anecdotal format reminiscent of the “newsreels” in John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. Trilogy, assembling her history as if putting together a puzzle piece by piece. It forms a picture which reminds us, as Faulkner put it, that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL

“This is a story of people connected through small accidents of fate that through them together, of what people will do to survive and keep their families alive during times of war. A fascinating tale.”—CANADIAN BOOKWORM 

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top