Michael Booth is a British journalist and author who doesn’t think too highly of Sweden (or the rest of Scandinavia either, for that matter). In his upcoming book ”The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle” (it will be published in early February), Booth writes:

”Anything I say about the Swedes will pale in comparison to their own excoriating self-image. A few years ago, the Swedish Institute of Public Opinion Research asked young Swedes to describe their compatriots. The top eight adjectives they chose were: envious, stiff, industrious, nature loving, quiet, honest, dishonest, xenophobic.” Booth’s own description of Sweden is just as severe: ”Look at the country as a northern China.”
He claims he has watertight proof that Swedes would do just about anything to avoid being in the elevator together with a stranger. British The Guardian writes in anticipation of the book: ”Booth’s study of Scandinavia and its people is opportune: Nordic noir has never been more fashionable. Peter Høeg's Danish thriller ’Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow’, published in 1993, radiated a new kind of polar chill. It was Sweden's Henning Mankell, however, who kicked open the door for crime: his Kurt Wallander mysteries have been followed into English by other Scando thriller writers, notably Stieg Larsson.”
And about Sweden, the paper writes: ”Sweden, in particular, is a country whose socialist experiment appears to be over. For three decades now, the Swedes have been haunted by the murder of their prime minister Olof Palme in 1986. The failure of the authorities to find Palme's killer has created a dangerous scepticism about the Swedish justice system and state institutions in general. Sweden's vaunted open society took another blow in 2003, Booth argues, when the country's foreign minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death in a Stockholm department store. What has gone wrong? One answer is that Lutheran-socialist ideals of community and co-operation have been undermined by the rise of consumerism and the mass uniculture of Microsoft and McDonald's.”


It should be added that Booth, who lives in Denmark with his Danish wife and their two children, is equally tongue-in-cheek ironic about the other Nordic countries.