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One of Us summary

Åsne Seierstad

The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway

4.4 (16 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

One of Us by Åsne Seierstad is a non-fiction account of the events leading up to and after the 2011 terror attack in Norway. It delves into the life and motivations of the attacker, as well as the impact on the victims and their families.

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    One of Us
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    Breivik’s childhood was unstable.

    In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik shocked the world. He killed 77 people in a single day – the most horrific terrorist attack in Norwegian history. Why would anyone do this? Many have searched for answers by analyzing Breivik’s childhood.

    Breivik’s early years were marked by instability and dysfunction. When Breivik was born, in 1979, his parents, Jens and Wenche Breivik, had only been together for a year, and when Breivik was six months old, his father was appointed as a counselor to the Norwegian Embassy in London, where the young family relocated from Oslo.

    While her husband was busy working, Wenche mostly stayed home. It seemed to her that Jens was only interested in a well-groomed wife who could maintain a dust-free home. After six months of feeling unappreciated and lonely, Wenche chose to divorce her husband and move back to Oslo with her one-year-old son.

    When Breivik was four, his mother no longer felt able to care for him and his younger sister. She asked for respite care, and the family was evaluated by psychologists. Experts concluded that the entire family was “affected by the mother’s poor psychological functioning,” and recommended that Anders be removed from the family, noting how “the mother is continually provoked by the boy and is locked in ambivalent positions, making it impossible [for him] to develop on his own terms.”

    Despite this, the family did not act on this recommendation. An appointed home visitor concluded that the conditions were not adverse enough for Anders to be taken away, and Wenche maintained custody of her son.

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    What is One of Us about?

    One of Us (2015) tells the story of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people on July 22, 2011. Beginning with Breivik’s personal life and detailing the development of his extremist political views and his planning of the massacre, these blinks give you an unflinching look into the mind of the man who carried out this devastating and senseless attack.

    One of Us Review

    One of Us by Åsne Seierstad (2015) is a thought-provoking and gripping account of the radicalization of young individuals in Norway and the subsequent terror attack that shocked the nation. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through in-depth interviews and meticulous research, the book offers a deep understanding of the complex factors that lead to radicalization and extremism.
    • Seierstad's nuanced storytelling humanizes the individuals involved, challenging preconceived notions and inviting empathy while exploring the consequences of their actions.
    • With its detailed analysis of societal issues and a focus on the broader implications of extremism, the book sparks important conversations and prompts reflection on pressing global challenges.

    Who should read One of Us?

    • Those curious about the most tragic day in recent Norwegian history
    • People hoping to gain insight into the mind of a terrorist
    • Anyone interested in how dangerous poor police work can be

    About the Author

    Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian journalist and writer best known for her work as a war correspondent. In addition to receiving the Peer Gynt and Den Store Journalistprisen, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a reporter in Norway, she is the author of The Bookseller of Kabul, A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, and The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War.

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    One of Us FAQs 

    What is the main message of One of Us?

    The main message of One of Us is a deep exploration of the motivations behind the horrific 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway.

    How long does it take to read One of Us?

    The reading time for One of Us varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is One of Us a good book? Is it worth reading?

    One of Us is a powerful and thought-provoking book that offers a unique perspective on the events of the 2011 terrorist attacks. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of One of Us?

    The author of One of Us is Åsne Seierstad.

    What to read after One of Us?

    If you're wondering what to read next after One of Us, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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