Matti Salminen: Yrjö Kallisen elämä ja totuus [The life and truth of Yrjö Kallinen]

15 September 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Yrjö Kallisen elämä ja totuus
[The life and truth of Yrjö Kallinen]
Helsinki: Like Kustannus, 2011. 271 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-01-0612-6
€ 27, hardback

Counsellor of Education Yrjö Kallinen (1886–1976) was a Social Democrat politician, a passionate speaker and a pacifist who served for one parliamentary term as an MP and for two years as a cabinet minister. Kallinen was a working-class man who independently acquired a broad general education. His life and thought contain many paradoxes and contradictions. In the Civil War (1918) he received four death sentences, though he tried to act as a peace-broker between the Whites and the Reds. Kallinen avoided the death penalty but suffered a long prison sentence. After the Second World War he became Minister of Defence, though in spite of holding the post he did not abandon his pacifism. Kallinen was also strongly influenced by oriental religions and theosophy, and he is known as an early advocate of vegetarianism. The most important sources for this biography are Yrjö Kallinen’s own writings, many of which have never been published before, and his recently discovered correspondence. The summaries of Kallinen’s interviews for foreign newspapers open up interesting perspectives on recent Finnish political history.
Translated by David McDuff


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