Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway” as Want to Read:
One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  9,174 ratings  ·  1,094 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about One of Us, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kym And translated to English on Amazon audio available 10/25/2016.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,174 ratings  ·  1,094 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway
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 o
Richard (on hiatus)
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I’m not sure whether spoilers apply to a book based on such a widely reported news story, but to those that are considering reading this book soon, I have included some detail in this long review.

'‘One Of Us: The Story Of Anders Breivik And The Massacre In Norway'’ was a difficult and immersive read.
In fact, at times I worried about what I was immersing myself in.
Sections of the book read like a thriller .......... fast paced and frightening. Pages flew by in queasy excitement and then, every s
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
Mikey B.
This book is about the murderous and horrible rampage of Anders Behring Breivik who, on July 22, 2011 bombed a government building and then proceeded by car to the island of Utoya where he shot and killed sixty-nine people – most of them young teenagers. Utoya is a small island donated to the Labour Party of Norway in the 1950’s. It has been used for an annual weekend festival for young members of the Labour Party, which was what Breivik deliberately went to.

The Labour Party is left-wing and th
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
Brendan Monroe
"I consider Anders Breivik to be a hero to his country."

Roman met my eyes as he said this, defiant, willing me to disagree. Around the table, several students nodded in agreement with his assertion. Others looked down or widened their eyes in disbelief.

It was 2012 and right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik was on trial for having murdered 77 people and wounding dozens of others on July 22nd of the previous year. I was spending the year working as an English teacher in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Uk
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
I have very specific memories of July 22nd, 2011, that day Anders Breivik shocked Norway with two deadly acts of terror; first the bomb in Oslo's government area, a few hours later, his killing spree on the island of Utøya where he mercilessly gunned down mostly teenagers in the labour party's summer camp. I was in Hamburg that day, stuck in a traffic jam, when I heard the devastating news on the radio. I remember it so clearly because the car in front of me was from Norway, which isn't a common ...more
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.
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
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
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Please read Keen Readers review as there’s nothing more I could add. I devoured this book. I was also impressed that Asne Seierstad donated all proceeds from the sales to a charity.
Highly recommended.
Harrowing and sometimes unbearable account of how Anders Breivik wrecked havoc in a summer camp filled with innocent children

He wasn't wanted by his father, his mother was unable to cope with parenthood. Ofcourse, not a happy home life, but not the standard recipe for a mass murderer. But after reading this book, already after a few chapters I came to the conclusion that he was a narcissist, believing in his own unique destiny. I wasn't surprised when in the end, the psychiatrists that talked to
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. ...more
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. ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was disappointing. I felt like I was reading a very long article in the New York Times. It was not immersive enough. The subject is a potentially influential terrorist who has made some grand claims for himself and the impact of his act on the future of Europe. His transformation from a neglected teenager to a lonely young man who retreats into an isolated life on the internet, where he gets inspired by posts on right-wing message boards (and becomes obsessed with the posts by anonymou ...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
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
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: read-in-2015, 5-stars
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
I was really looking forward to reading a book about this tragedy in Norway, but unfortunately One of Us: Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Asne Seierstad is so damn boring that I cannot continue reading it. I applaud the author's attempt to tell the stories of not just the perpetrator (Anders Breivik) but also of the victims. She obviously did a lot of research and conducted many interviews and tells not just their biographies, but places their lives within the historical and politic ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Anders Breivik, how he came to kill 77 people on July 22, 2011 and the aftermath. It includes portraits of his victims.

The book begins and ends with Breivik’s mother. In between is the story of his life as an infant, child, teen and the adult who committed a heinous act of terrorism at age 32. The Oslo bombing and the events on Utoyo Island are reconstructed in detail as are Breveik’s days in court.

The most riveting parts of the book, for me, were: the episodes of Breveik’s
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
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
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
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

CW: white supremacy, bullying, bombing, racism, Islamophobia, and VERY graphic scenes of violence/shooting of children and child death

This review needs to really start with a warning. While I will recommend this book as an amazing true crime novel for the rest of my life, this book is not for everyone. I have a very strong stomach (so to speak) around acts of violence. That’s because I love horror and true crime and I just don’t get bothered.

But this book
An utterly engrossing account of Anders Behring Breivik’s July 22, 2011 attacks on an Oslo government building (8 dead) and the political youth camp on the island of Utøya (69 killed). Over half of this hefty tome is prologue: Breivik’s life story, plus occasional chapters giving engaging portraits of his teenage victims. Towards the halfway point Seierstad starts zeroing in on his preparations for the day itself; this was the only section that felt overlong to me, detailing hoards of weapons, f ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
SA Book & Challen...: * One of Us (Spoilers) 6 5 Jun 16, 2021 09:23AM  
SA Book & Challen...: One of Us (No Spoilers) 5 3 Jun 05, 2021 09:46AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correction 3 16 May 03, 2017 01:17PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correct title 3 16 May 03, 2017 01:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Originally published 3 16 Feb 21, 2017 01:05PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect cover 6 44 Apr 24, 2016 07:27PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ku Klux Klan. Tu mieszka miłość
  • Lasermannen: En berättelse om Sverige
  • Det vi kan stå for
  • Tante Ulrikkes vei
  • Like Eating a Stone: Surviving the Past in Bosnia
  • Americký cisár
  • Smršť
  • Slon na Zemplíne
  • Gul bok
  • Ganbare! Warsztaty umierania
  • 27 śmierci Toby'ego Obeda
  • Slovutný pán prezident
  • Szczęśliwy jak łosoś. O Norwegii i Norwegach
  • Voksne mennesker
  • Wszystkie dzieci Louisa
  • Hen. Na północy Norwegii
  • Dzieci Norwegii. O państwie (nad)opiekuńczym
  • Honor. Opowieść ojca, który zabił własną córkę
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Asne Seierstad has received numerous awards for her journalism and has reported from such war-torn regions as Chechnya, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. She is fluent in five languages and lives in Norway.

Related Articles

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
138 likes · 19 comments
“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” 6 likes
“Our answer is more democracy, more openness and more humanity. But never naivety.” 1 likes
More quotes…