J. B. Hove
Finnish North American Literature Association
From Scandinavian Shores: Immigrant Culture and Stories from Our Nordic Family
Histories.Isanti, Minnesota: Juel Publishing, 2007.
J. B. Hove’s From Scandinavian Shores examines the history of Scandinavian culture to
uncover the roots of their unique personal and collective traits, including their “values,
beliefs, customs, society, language and more” as he suggests that “culture is learned” (vii).
Hove argues that the migratory lifestyle of Scandinavians as well as the practice of
plundering led to a culture that favored egalitarian organization and supported strong and
independent women who managed hearth and home in the extended absences of their
menfolk. This egalitarian society which required real contribution from every member
could not support a “non-productive upper class” (213).
Hove further asserts that the “bloodless” experience of the Reformation, unlike the
experience of its southern and eastern neighbors, supported the egalitarian organization of
society and further promoted the development of societies that “are technologically
advanced, enjoy stable democratic governments, and have egalitarian societies with high
status for women.” They also enjoy “equitable distribution of wealth, industrial efficiency,
and humanitarian aid” (214).