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Review: Förrädarland by Vilhelm Moberg

Vilhelm Moberg as a politician
Vilhelm Moberg, 1958.

Share on FacebookShare on WhatsAppShare on TelegramShare on X (Twitter)För en tid sedan läste jag Utvandrarserien av Vilhelm Moberg. Den grep mig djupt, och jag fascinerades av Moberg språk och hur mycket av det gamla han beskrev som fortfarande kändes relevant idag. Genom Projekt Allmogen fick jag klart för […]

Some time ago I read the Emigrant series by Vilhelm Moberg. It gripped me deeply, and I was fascinated by Moberg's language and how much of the old things he described still felt relevant today.

By Project Allmogen I realised that Moberg was a freedom fighter and continued to read his books. I got hold of "My Swedish History: told to the people" via Book exchange. Even "Ride in the Night!" I bought home and read.

Traitorland by Vilhelm MobergFinally, I've also got hold of Traitorland.

The book is about Moberg's home in Småland and the stream that separated Denmark and Sweden at the time. The Smålanders, of course, had dealings with their neighbours on the other side of the stream. But suddenly Gustav Vasa arrived and the stream became a border.

Through different people around the border and their lives, we learn about life under Gustav Vasa and the Danish war.

As always with Vilhelm Moberg, it's easy to draw parallels to today's society. Today, servants don't come and rob and rape, which is a definite improvement. But their power is just as great as it was then, over our souls and our lives. But we are more obedient today.

Sweden was then Catholic and one of the people we follow is a Catholic priest. At the end of the book, Gustav Vasa's German servants come to the priest's church to plunder. This is because Gustav Vasa seized the church's valuables and forced a new religion, Protestantism, on the Swedes.

He is visited by a wandering monk, Brother James.

Brother Jacob shrugged. He knew the autocrats and bore no resentment towards their regiment. [...]

The wanderer had seen so much of the devil's kingdom on earth that he was unable to be moved by its advance, while the parish shepherd was always inflamed by the wickedness and cruelty of the black angels.

He had warned his friend: beware of the deadly sin of wrath! And beware of your heart

These lines spoke to me in particular. There is a timelessness about the madness of gentlemen. Their madness has continued from the time of Gustav Vasa to the present day.

Like Brother James, I have seen so much madness that I have been unable to be moved. I see to my own welfare and that of my flock, and the rest is a spectacle that passes by.

I don't warn against anger, but letting it take hold and dominate life is not good. Take care of your hearts, learn more and remember the atrocities that are being done and have been done.

What has happened concerns us, even if it was hundreds of years ago. And the knowledge of what has happened brings peace.

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