Henrik Meinander paints a brisk and bold picture of the history of Finland from integrated part of the Swedish kingdom to autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian empire, gradually transformed and maturing into a conscious nation, independent state and skilful adapter of modern technology. The main geographical context for his study is the Baltic region, and the author links his analysis to structural developments and turning points in European history. The book blends politics, economy and culture to show how human and natural resources in Finland have been utilized and the impact its cultural heritage and technological innovation have had on its development. In a departure from most conventional approaches, Meinander gives greater emphasis to recent and contemporary events. In other words, he puts Finland into a range of historical contexts in its Baltic and European settings to highlight how both together have formed Finland into what it is at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
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Henrik Meinander is Professor of History at the University of Helsinki and the author of many acclaimed books on Finnish and Nordic history. He was formerly curator of the Mannerheim Museum in Helsinki and head of the Finnish Institute in Stockholm.
"...this volume goes well beyond the chiefly political analysis...and includes substantial information on literary, philosophical, musical, linguistic, pedagogical and general cultural topics, providing a deeper and more nuanced overview of the Finns from prehistoric times to the present....the author gives outstanding summaries of the events and issues during the Swedish and Russian dominions and...the postindependence decades. Meinander supplies an evenhanded, thoughtful analysis of the civil war and its aftermath,...the Winter War, the Continuation War, and the Lapland War, which brought WWII to an end in Finland. He also advances convincing arguments for Finland's Cold War foreign policy and for its postwar economic successes,...its integration into the European Union and its cooperation with NATO. Written in a clear, concise style, the book contains numerous high-quality illustrations.... If a library can have only one book on modern Finnish history, this is the one."-- CHOICE
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