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One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  5,829 Ratings  ·  789 Reviews
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 N
Hardcover, 530 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2013)
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Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to review. Åsne Seierstad’s One of Us, is incredibly well-researched and written, a near-masterpiece of journalism. Its subject matter, though, is impossible: the massacre of seventy-seven Norwegians by bomb and firearm on July 22, 2011. Most of the victims were teens. They were among sixty-nine people killed on the island of Utøya, which a left-wing youth political party used as a summer camp. As I read One of Us, I kept wondering why I kept going. It became a philosophical ...more
Paul Bryant
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime


We hear a lot about radicalisation these days. Three girls aged 15 and 16 went off by themselves from east London to Syria to join Isis a couple of weeks ago. Three days ago a 19 year old guy was given 22 years in prison for wishing to cut off the head of a British soldier (he was caught before he did it, unlike Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who did behead a British soldier on the streets of London on 22 May 2013). The word for all of these young people is jihadis.

One of
Åsne Seierstad is a nonfiction writer and foreign affairs journalist who had never written about her native Norway before she was asked to cover the case of Anders Breivik, on trial for mass murder in the city of Oslo and on the island of Utøya. She found herself uncertain how to explain the Breivik phenomenon after listening to ten weeks of trial testimony and decided she needed to go deeper. To Breivik’s story she adds those of three Breivik killed (Simon Sæbø, Bano Rashid, Anders Kristiansen) ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was difficult for two reasons:

The first being the obvious horror and tragedy of the events it relates. Imaging the incredible fear of those people kicks you right in the gut. I genuinely felt sick reading parts of it.

The second is due to Seierstad's choice to write in a sensationalist novel format. If I hadn't known the reality, I would have thought it was another badly written crime novel. It almost made some of the information seem made up or too cliche. It made me feel guilty for m
Oh my! What to say about this one? Seierstad has done a great job of pulling us into the world of Anders Breivik. Her research has been thorough,so far as that goes, and required a lot of travel and interviewing on her part. I think she has attempted to be very fair in her account, giving biographical sketches of the murderer and his victims. She has certainly managed to elicit sympathy for the victims, but I think she narrowly missed the mark in other areas.

Breivik's history, you see, is given
This book... where do I start with this book.

I have read a lot of true crime in my days. I have studied and read and researched all the serial killers I know of, all the mass shootings that I know of. But this book was something entirely unique to me. Somehow, for the most part, I usually can "distance" myself from these things. I don't relate to the killers, or the victims usually. But this was different.
One fine summer day I went to a breakfast restaurant with my mom and my sister. I had just
This is a well-written and well-researched book by Åsne Seierstad (who also wrote the very interesting The Bookseller of Kabul) about the 2011 massacre in the generally tranquil country of Norway. Most of the 77 victims were teens. Seierstad focuses not only the murderer, Anders Breivik and his troubled childhood (which doesn't seem troubled enough to explain his horrific act) but on the lives of five of his victims. This makes their deaths even more painful for the reader.

I appreciated how Seie
May 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's just not OK in non-fiction to tell us what (dead) people were thinking as if the book were a novel.

That undermines the truth-telling credibility of the author, so then the massive trivia-dump is just pointless. The book is way too long. That could have been OK if all those details eventually got connected into an interesting theme, but they don't. The guy was a sicko, which is expected and basically unexplainable, so there's not much interesting to say.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2011 Norway suffered its worst ever terrorist attack. A bomb, planted in a van outside of the Prime Minister’s office killed eight people in Oslo’s government quarter. As the terrorist walked away from the van, before the explosion, a witness noticed he carried a gun and noted down the number plate of the vehicle he drove off in. Sadly, this remarkable far-sighted action went unnoticed and the police did not act upon his call (the more such books I read, the more I come across these kind of m ...more
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
One of Us presents a detailed account of Anders Breivik life and how he came to massacre 79 people. From his sad childhood until his total break with reality Anders Breivik devised a terrible plot against his country because he opposed the immigration happening in Norway.  What struck me most about this story was how totally unprepared the Norwegian government was for this type of attack.

Was Anders Breivik a homegrown terrorist or raving manic? I think he was not working with a full deck.  With
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is in-depth look at domestic terrorist attack in Norway in 2011. Seirstad looks at both those who were killer and the killer. At points you want to weep. But considering Trump's popularity,among other things, it needs to be read.
Vasco Simões
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Este é daqueles casos em que a realidade supera a ficção. História de um grandíssimo FDP chamado Anders Breivik que decidiu matar 77 pessoas, primeiro com uma bomba em Oslo e depois ao tiro (tipo caça desportiva) na ilha de Utoya, contra miúdos inocentes, tudo porque estava contra a islamização da Europa. A autora do “Último Livreiro de Cabul” faz um grande trabalho jornalístico aproveitando a sua experiência para nos dar uma imagem fiel de quem Anders Breivik é e como chega a este ponto. Faz le ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kniha tří částí a třech rozdílných přístupů, které se však vzájemně doplňují a vypovídají o nejhorší poválečné tragédii Norska skrze osobní příběhy zainteresovaných; včetně Breivika.

První „beletrická“ část se zevrubně soustředí na Breivikovo dětství (včetně obsáhlého popisu jeho porodu), rodinné zázemí, školu, telecí léta, první kariérní a politické (ne)úspěchy i vzorce chování. Stejně detailně se přistupuje i k několika vybraným dětem/pozdějším obětem. Napsané to je jako beletrie (ovšem je to
Sean Kennedy
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps the modern day successor to In Cold Blood. The details and buildup are harrowing and claustrophobic, yet don't seem exploitative. A lot of care and respect went into this book, and the survivors and parents of the victims treated with decency. But there were times when I just had to put the book down and walk away.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Åsne Seierstad has written an astonishingly lucid and sympathetic narrative no one would actually look forward to reading – except that once you start you can barely put it down. The Norwegian horror story, a massacre of seventy-seven people, is one of the worst such episodes in modern times. Every time I mentioned to someone that I was reading this book, I was met with a look of disbelief. Implicit in the reaction: why would you want to read about THAT?

Yet it’s impossible to avert one’s eyes.
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, read-in-2015
I'm no masochist; I chose to read this book mostly because of its widespread acclaim. The subject matter is indeed terrible, but it is also awfully compellingly written. It is a tragic and ultimately angering book, but one containing both a wealth of detail and a novelistic narrative pace.

First of all I must say that I am not taken aback by being asked to understand (at least to some degree) as a human being a man most consider to be a monster. Anders Behring Breivik undoubtedly committed a mass
Ich kann es nicht wirklich in Worte fassen. Eindrücklich, bedrückend, tragisch, schockierend, unglaublich, traurig, fassungslos, schrecklich, narzisstisch,... so vieles das da hoch kommt. Es ist immer noch unfassbar und nicht nachzuvollziehen wie ein (!!!) Mensch so kalt, blind, kalkulierend, gefühlslos und grausam sein kann.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: august-2016
It's always going to be difficult to review a book about such a sickening and notorious crime as the massacre which happened on the island of Utoya in July 2011, and the bomb attack which happened in central Oslo just beforehand. Norway is one of my favourite countries, and Oslo is certainly one of the most peaceful and friendly places I have ever visited. I was even more shocked, therefore, when I learnt about Breivik's crime. What occurred was reported in the British media, but relatively few ...more
Martin Dubeci
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kniha o Breivikovi. Napísaná tak vynikajúcim spôsobom, že sa až človek cíti blbo zato, ako to rýchlo hltá. Žiadna super fikcia, reálny, desivý príbeh.

Masová vražda ako táto, sa asi nedá vysvetliť. Napriek tomu je obdivuhodné, do akej hĺbky sa o to autorka pokúsila. Nie je to žiaden chválospev o zlom a dobrých. Príhody s vyrovnávaním sa s multukulturalizmom v 80-tych rokoch, spackaná reakcia polície v deň útoku, napätie medzi pozostalými a mládežníckou organizáciou socialistov.

Ak ma však niečo v
Tanja Berg
On July 22, 2011 Norway experienced the worst post war massacre when Anders Behring Breivik first detonated a bomb in the government quarter in Oslo and then shot and killed 77 children in a political summer camp. I had just come back from holiday and I remember the shock and my fury at the perpetrator and the disbelief that this could happen in my adopted country. I approached the book tentatively - did I really want to relieve the emotions of July 22nd, 2011? Did I really want to learn ANYTHIN ...more
Gosh, what a hard book to rate! I want to give it 4.5/5 for research and indepth-ness [not a word, but you know what I mean!], but the problem I was faced with is that it was almost too long. I get that it was an amazing piece of research and shined great light on such an awful event in history.

But is it okay to say that the epicness of it wore on my nerves and wound me down?...

I need something light and fluffy now!

Oh man, I should also say something about the story. What a tragedy that people
Marina Sofia
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed, fascinating and distressing in equal measure. At times it felt voyeuristic and too graphic, but it was a good analysis of not just an individual man but also of Norwegian society, of the police response on that day. Also a celebration of the life and aspirations of the victims and the grief of their families. Really hard to read at times.
Steven Z.
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On May 15, 2015 the jury in the Boston bombing case voted the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the massacre at the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon. Tsarnaev acted out of an ideology that was the antithesis of Anders Behring Breivik, the self-proclaimed commander of the Norwegian anti-communist resistance movement who in July, 2011 sought to rid Europe of what he perceived to be its Islamization and, secondly to make a statement about what cultural diversity, and the feminist mo ...more
Scott Murray
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember what made me want to read this book. While I certainly remember the headlines from the horrifying events in Norway in 2011, I knew very little about the country itself, and next to nothing about Anders Behring Breivik.

Seierstad intertwines the story of the victims, Norway, Norwegians, and Breivik into a fast-paced and absolutely gutting 500 pages of investigative journalism. I cried at several times throughout this book and found entire chapters to be difficult. This is meant f
Victoria Larsen Stø
A very challenging and important book.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I was reading this, the newspapers were full of the story of the German pilot who (it appears) deliberately crashed his plane and 150 passengers into a French mountain. The Sydney Lindt Café hostage story took place only a couple of months ago. The young man from Melbourne who went off to fight with IS in Syria. Lone men doing crazy things. [I’m not suggesting that these events have similar causal elements or much in the way of similarity apart from their newsworthiness, the fact that the ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the best written books I have read in a very long time.

It is a book which will stay with me forever and not just because it covers the 77 horrific murders which Anders Behring Breivik committed on the 22 July 2011. Despite its horrific topic it is written in a very researched, factual, compassionate and sympathetic (event to some extend to Breivik and his family) way without either being sensational or sentimental.

This book gives a voice to many of the victims and their families,
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
68th book for 2018.

A masterful telling of the Anders Brevik's literal slaughter of innocents.

This is the logic of the xenophobic fascism that is being increasingly fanned by Putin's Russia and Trump's America.

Chad Felix
One of Us is an ambitious, horrifying account of the 2011 massacre in Norway that resulted, almost impossibly, in the loss of 77 lives, most of them children. The attack was carried out in two locations, Oslo and the island of Utøya, by one man, Anders Breivik, on one day, July 22. Anders made a bomb. He put it in a car, and set it off in Regjeringskvartalet, the nation's government district. The bomb went off, killing 8. He was dressed as a policeman. He got in another car and drove north towar ...more
Åsne Seierstad has done a really good job writing about something so sad and raw. I've always been interested in the minds of "monsters", people who commit despicable crimes. Seierstad provides very few definitive answers on how he grew up to be who he is today. But Anders Behring Breivik is not a monster. He was and remains one of us. I especially liked one little piece of dialogue between some policeman and Behring Breivik where he hopefully says,

"You must think I'm some kind of a monster."
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction 3 13 May 03, 2017 01:17PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correct title 3 15 May 03, 2017 01:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Originally published 3 16 Feb 21, 2017 01:05PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect cover 6 42 Apr 24, 2016 07:27PM  
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Asne Seierstad has received numerous awards for her journaism and has reported from such war-torn regions as Chchnya, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. She is fluent in five languages and lives in Norway.
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“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 longs for contact. Hjalmar Söderberg, Doktor Glas, 1905” 4 likes
“Our answer is more democracy, more openness and more humanity. But never naivety.” 1 likes
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