Pilvi Torsti: Suomalaiset ja historia [The Finns and history]

21 December 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Suomalaiset ja historia
[The Finns and history]
Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2012. 303 p., ill .
ISBN 978-952-495-264-4
€37, paperback

Dr Pilvi Torsti’s book is based on a project aimed at finding out through extensive interviews what ordinary Finns think of Finland’s history (especially in the period of independence since 1917), and how important it is to them, rather than how much they know about it. The large majority of the respondents believe that history forms part of general knowledge and also explains the present. They also attached importance to their own family history, while Finnish history was seen as a story of  progress. History undertaken as a hobby is more common in Finland than in some comparable countries. When asked about the most important issues in the country’s history, the education system came top of the list in more than 75 per cent of the responses, and the Winter War (1939–40) and universal suffrage (1906) in more than half. The comprehensive presentation of research data and conclusions is leavened by the interviewees’ statements, as well as by drawings. More information about this many-faceted study can be found on the project’s website.
Translated by David McDuff

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