For many Americans, Sweden used to conjure images of Viking raiders and settlers. By contrast, contemporary Sweden is one of the world's most advanced nations in terms of politics, social welfare, gender equality, standard of living, technology, the arts, and participation in regional and global developments. Nordstrom traces the history of Sweden, detailing its prehistory and Viking past. This book shows how a country governed for years by a European monarchial system slowly--and at times grudgingly--changed into the egalitarian, democratic system of today. Starting with an introduction on Sweden's geography, people, and government, Nordstrom examines the political and cultural history of the country in six chapters. Also included are a bibliographical essay, an index, and a biographical section with portraits of more than 50 noteworthy Swedes, making this narrative account is the most up-to-date general history of Sweden available.