In This Review

Massacre in Norway: The 2011 Terror Attacks on Oslo and the Utøya Youth Camp
Massacre in Norway: The 2011 Terror Attacks on Oslo and the Utøya Youth Camp
By Stian Bromark
Potomac Books Inc., 2014, 208 pp

Since 2001, Europe has suffered more terrorist incidents than the United States, although none of the attacks has been as spectacular as those that struck New York City and Washington on 9/11. Among the most lurid European incidents was the 2011 massacre by a lone gunman of 69 young Norwegians at a summer camp near Oslo associated with the Labour Party, which was combined with a diversionary bomb blast in the city that killed eight people. Bromark, a Norwegian journalist, tells the story based on detailed eyewitness accounts, and his book serves as a corrective to wrong-headed foreign commentary that used the event to criticize Scandinavian social democracy. Despite the xenophobic rhetoric of the perpetrator, his crime was not evidence of widespread right-wing radicalism or of lax Norwegian law enforcement. The murderer, although an adult, seems to have been a lonely outsider in a close-knit society, not unlike many of the teenagers responsible for school shootings in the United States. The most revealing anecdotes in this book illustrate something that foreigners often overlook: the deep bonds of friendship and community that continue to define what it means to be Norwegian.