A Short History of Finland

Jonathan Clements

‘highly entertaining’ 
Nordic Reach

‘Written in a lively and humorous style, including many personal anecdotes, this book would be a good introduction to Finland’
Scandinavian Journal of History 


The modern nation of Finland is the heir to centuries of history, as a wilderness at the edge of early Europe, a borderland of the Swedish empire, and a Grand Duchy of tsarist Russia. And, as Jonathan Clements’ vivid, concise volume shows, it is a tale paved with oddities and excitements galore: from prehistoric reindeer herders to medieval barons, Christian martyrs to Viking queens, and, in the twentieth century, the war heroes who held off the Soviet Union against impossible odds.

Offering accounts of public artworks, literary giants, legends, folktales, and famous figures, Clements provides an indispensable portrait of this fascinating nation.

This updated edition includes expanded coverage on the Second World War, as a well as new sections on Finns in America and Russia, the centenary of the republic, and Finland’s battle with COVID-19, right up to its historic application to join NATO.

JONATHAN CLEMEMTS is the author of a biography of Finland’s most famous leader Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy, as well as A Brief History of the Vikings (Robinson, 2005) and A History of the Silk Road. After living in Finland for over a decade, he became a Finnish citizen in 2021.

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