Gustafsson, Karl Erik and per Ryden. A History of the Press in Sweden

By Soukup, Paul A. | Communication Research Trends, March 2015 | Go to article overview

Gustafsson, Karl Erik and per Ryden. A History of the Press in Sweden


Soukup, Paul A., Communication Research Trends


Gustafsson, Karl Erik and Per Ryden. A History of the Press in Sweden. Goteborg: NORDICOM-Sverige, 2010-2011. Pp. 369. ISBN 978-91-86523-08-4 (paper) SKR 250.00.

Most media scholars in the United States and England will know, at least in outline, the history of the English-language press, from its beginnings in London. Those in the U.S. may also have some familiarity with the foreign-language press in their country, a press that flourished in various immigrant communities beginning in the late 19th century and that still exists today in parts of the country. However, most will probably not know much (if anything) about the history of the press in other countries.

This history of the press in Sweden provides an outstanding remedy. Condensed from the original four-volume work, this more or less chronological history offers a wealth of insights into the development of the press and the (often similar) challenges it has faced in the Nordic region. The authors note, "While shortening the text, however, we have added new research results. We have discovered new patterns and connections that were not previously apparent to us" (p. 11). Though they had to limit illustrations and back matter to fit the one-volume limit, they do make the bibliography and references available on the project's website (www.presshistoria.org). Given their approach to the history, Gustafsson and Ryden note that "a history of the Swedish press, such as the present one, deals primarily with those newspapers and magazines that were printed, had a number of issues, were generally available in Sweden, and have been preserved" (p. 13).

While a review like this cannot really summarize the book without simply repeating its history, it can point out some key facts. The history of the Swedish press begins in 1645 (p. 18). And much of the output of the Swedish press has been preserved, thanks to a government edict in 1661 mandating the preservation of at least a copy of every printed work. …

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