This is a penetrating study of many aspects of life, thought, and everyday existence in Scandinavia, as experienced through the author's 9-year residence in the enlightened far north in the 1960s. Robert Corfe is primarily known as a thought-provoking writer of books published in the 21st century, but this work comprises a selection of his articles published in the Finnish press, popular magazines, and learned journals in the 1960s. The collected articles are put into context for a contemporary readership by a lively introductory chapter entitled, Seeing The Future Through The Past, which describes how Scandinavia was 50 years in advance of Britain in terms of political thinking and social development. And now Britain has caught up and shares in the benefits and also the dis-benefits of a modernised technological society. Of considerable interest are the articles on British society and its problems, as viewed through the eyes of a British resident acclimatised to the cultural environment of Finnish life.The articles reflect clearly the development of the author's political ideas on the need for a classless society in more effectively contributing to communal prosperity and internal harmony.
The Scandinavians' enviable policy of neutrality and disengagement from the conflicts of the great power blocs in achieving national security is highlighted as contributing to the happiness of their people. In view of an impending new Cold War between Russia and the West, the arguments developed are perhaps of greater significance today than when they were formulated more than 40 years ago. Many of these ideas were to be given greater depth in the author's major works published many years later in the 21st century. Perhaps most entertaining in this collection is the delicious satirical story, What The Watchdog Saw, a savage attack on the absurdities of the British far left as well as those of the far right. As a percipient introduction to the mindset of the enlightened Scandinavian people, based on both scholarship and personal experience, this book could hardly be bettered for such a purpose.
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