‘History of Norway’ written by Friends’ John Yilek

Nearly all research done at U’s Wilson Library

History of Norway by John Yilek
History of Norway by John Yilek

Stillwater, Minnesota author and Friends of the Libraries member John A. Yilek has written a new book called History of Norway, which clearly describes Norway’s history from the earliest cultures of the Stone Age to the present day.

Almost all of the research for the book was conducted in the Norwegian nonfiction collection at the University of Minnesota’s Wilson Library, Yilek said. The book is the first comprehensive history of Norway by an American author in almost 70 years, and it is filled with stories of Vikings, the Sami, kings and queens, farmers and fishermen, the Black Death, the Hanseatic merchants, the Reformation, Norwegian independence, emigration from Norway to America, polar explorers, World War II in Norway, and much more.

The book is available in paperback or ebook at bookstores, Scandinavian gift shops, and online booksellers.

Yilek is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (B.A., 1971) and the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 1976). He teaches Norwegian history in the Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program in Minneapolis. 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting. How many pages in the book? Is it for adult readers? Or children?

    As one whose Norwegian relatives have traced our ancestry back to King Magnus the sixth, I am interested in your take on this.

    Is the book for me?

    • The book is about 250 pages long, and it is primarily for adult readers. However, it is written in clear American English and could certainly be read by middle school or high school students under parental supervision (that is, it does mention some violence in Viking times, the Middle Ages, and other eras). There is a subchapter on the Golden Age including the reign of your ancestor Magnus the Lawmender in the 13th century. I would encourage anyone with an interest in Norway or European history to read the book. Tusen takk!

  2. I was pleased to see that the books in Wilson were used for this research since I was one of the people responsible for acquiring many of them during my thirty-year tenure in the library. Building on a Scandinavian collection going back to the founding of the University, I was aware that I was standing on the shoulders of giants (in the earth). As they arrived at the U by various means, those books and periodicals went through many hands before ending up on the shelves: received by staff in the shipping department, cataloged by skilled catalogers into the card catalog (those were the days) and then later into local and national databases, put on the shelves by circulation department staff, located by reference librarians, and as the case may have been, lent to other libraries by inter-library loan staff. Also cared for by the preservation department to be repaired if no longer in good condition. All for the benefit of the researchers, past, present and future.

    Mariann Tiblin, Scandinavian Studies librarian (retired)

  3. I am reading through these comments as I write up an event post for our upcoming book signing with John Yilek at my book store in Hudson, Chapter2Books.
    My reason for posting a comment is to thank Mariann Tiblin for your many years of important and hard work! I studied at Wilson Library and used Wilson Library all the time in my years at the U. As a former history teacher and now book store owner, I have great respect for the work you did.

  4. Mr. Yilek – what would it cost to have you speak for a church event that does a program in May for the Syttendi Mai? Our church was founded by Norwegian Immigrants and would love to have you speak. It is located in rural Argyle, WI.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here