088: As Others See Us by Goran Palm

by Gerard

088.7: Palm, Goran. As Others See Us. Translated by Verne Moberg. Indianapolis, IN: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1968. 242 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 000: Computer science, information, and general works
  • 080: General collections
  • 088: General collections in Scandinavian languages
  • 088.7: General collections in Swedish

Goran Palm may not be known to a lot of reader in the United States, but in Sweden, he has been ranked highly over the last four decades. He has won the Samfunder De Nio Grand Prize (1985), the Selma Lagerlof Prize (1998), and the Stig Dagerman Prize (2005) (just to name a few). His writings in Sweden have championed the causes of society equality, free speech, and literary activism. In As Others See Us, he forces the reader to view other countries at their level, almost taping your eyes open as a lowlight reel of social ills is projected in front of you.

It is important to understand that this book was written in the 1960s, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and from the perspective of a peace-mongering Swede. He is quick to point that human civilization begin well before Western civilization did, but somehow Westernism is the measuring stick used for the majority modern achievement. The world was quick becoming a more interconnected place and foreign correspondence made the world just a little bit closer to your television set. He urges the public, through this collection of essays, to become a more global individual, to understand the origin and plight of your fellow man and treat him as you would your family. There are many moments when it seems as if all Palm has is his rage and despair, but for all his didacticism, Palm is still hopeful. He ends the collection: “Perhaps there is no hope. We just hope anyhow.” It’s an obscure book, but if you can find it, it’s well worth your time.