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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
One of Us

One of Us

The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway

Åsne Seierstad; Translated from the Norwegian by Sarah Death

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A harrowing and thorough account of the massacre that upended Norway, and the trial that helped put the country back together

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside government buildings in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of Norway's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and what led up to it. What made Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become a terrorist?
As in her bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul, Seierstad excels at the vivid portraiture of lives under stress. She delves deep into Breivik's troubled childhood, showing how a hip-hop and graffiti aficionado became a right-wing activist and Internet game addict, and then an entrepreneur, Freemason, and self-styled master warrior who sought to "save Norway" from the threat of Islam and multiculturalism. She writes with equal intimacy about Breivik's victims, tracing their political awakenings, aspirations to improve their country, and ill-fated journeys to the island. By the time Seierstad reaches Utøya, we know both the killer and those he will kill. We have also gotten to know an entire country—famously peaceful and prosperous, and utterly incapable of protecting its youth.

NPR Best Book of the Year, NYT Outstanding Books of the Year, The Guardian (UK) Best Books of the Year, Helen Bernstein Book Award - Nominee, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, Boston Globe Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

A New Life (1979)



We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs it...

Praise for One of Us

“A vivid, thoroughly researched, and suspenseful account of the 2011 massacre that killed 77 people in her native Norway . . . The book features evocative portraits of some of the victims and brims with vivid descriptions of the villages, city squares, buildings, and fjords of Norway, touching on the country's politics, changing demographics, and cultural shifts. With a reporter's passion for details and a novelist's sense of story, Seierstad's book is at once an unforgettable account of a national tragedy and a lively portrait of contemporary Norway.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Asne Seierstad's One of Us is almost unbearable to read and absolutely impossible to turn away from: its account of an unthinkable tragedy is reported with staggering rigor and recounted with grace. It's hard to leave this book without feeling incredible grief, without feeling shaken to the core, without feeling urged toward essential questions about what we call evil and how it comes to pass.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

“A chilling descent into the mind of mass murderer Anders Breivik . . . [Seierstad's] explorations of Breivik . . . have the unsettling quality that readers will associate with novelist Stieg Larsson . . . [One of Us] packs all the frightening power of a good horror novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An exhaustive account . . . This book throws a great deal of light on the life and times of a miserable killer.” —Ian Buruma, The Guardian

“T… More…

“A vivid, thoroughly researched, and suspenseful account of the 2011 massacre that killed 77 people in her native Norway . . . The book features evocative portraits of some of the victims and brims with vivid descriptions of the villages, city squares, buildings, and fjords of Norway, touching on the country's politics, changing demographics, and cultural shifts. With a reporter's passion for details and a novelist's sense of story, Seierstad's book is at once an unforgettable account of a national tragedy and a lively portrait of contemporary Norway.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Asne Seierstad's One of Us is almost unbearable to read and absolutely impossible to turn away from: its account of an unthinkable tragedy is reported with staggering rigor and recounted with grace. It's hard to leave this book without feeling incredible grief, without feeling shaken to the core, without feeling urged toward essential questions about what we call evil and how it comes to pass.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

“A chilling descent into the mind of mass murderer Anders Breivik . . . [Seierstad's] explorations of Breivik . . . have the unsettling quality that readers will associate with novelist Stieg Larsson . . . [One of Us] packs all the frightening power of a good horror novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An exhaustive account . . . This book throws a great deal of light on the life and times of a miserable killer.” —Ian Buruma, The Guardian

“This is journalism at its very best . . . Undoubtedly Seierstad's most powerful narrative to date.” —Matthew Campbell, The Sunday Times

“An astonishing piece of work . . . One of Us looks straight at horror and doesn't flinch: it is classic reporting . . . We need to take note.” —David Sexton, London Evening Standard

“Scrupulously researched . . . [Seierstad] has a remarkable eye for the haunting detail, particularly of empathy, and of grief.” —Craig Brown, Daily Mail

“Powerful . . . It's hard to see how, as a definitive account of what happened that awful July day, it could ever be bettered.” —Eilis O'Hanlon, Irish Independent

“Seierstad's enormously well written depictions of the perpetrator, the victims, and the Norway where this could happen makes the abstract real and shows us that the most horrible things can take place among all that we perceive as safe and normal. The wounds from Utøya will not heal on its own. They need Åsne Seierstad's brave, sensitive, and competent treatment. Seierstad succeeds in writing the dead back to life, even though the story inexorably pushes them to a tragic ending.” —Sam Sundgren, Svenska Dagbladet

“It is a broad, well written, and important story, in form and writing much like a novel. Seierstad follows some of the people whose destinies abruptly cross one another on the island of Utøya, partly the perpetrator and partly some of his victims. She meets them all with compassion, at eye level--a close-up technique that makes the moment when the bullets start to fly almost unbearable. I have seldom read a depiction of violence under such great agony.” —Lars Linder, Dagens Nyheter

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Reviews from Goodreads

Åsne Seierstad; Translated from the Norwegian by Sarah Death

Åsne Seierstad is an award-winning Norwegian journalist and writer known for her work as a war correspondent. She is the author of The Bookseller of Kabul, One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, and Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya. She lives in Oslo, Norway.

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