Saturday, April 30, 2005

Study in Sisu: Finland’s Fight For Independence, by Austin Goodrich

Sometimes you read a book and it changes how you view a certain part of the world. When I read Study in Sisu: Finland’s Fight for Independence by Austin Goodrich, Ballentine Books, 1960, a few years ago, it left me with a higher regard for Finland and its people.

From the back cover of my copy (ellipsis in original):
SISU… courage, obstinacy, “guts”…four million Finns living in the jaws of Soviet Communism – flaunting their independence!

SISU is a national characteristic of the Finnish people. It accounts for their great exploits:

…The winning of independence from Russia in 1918, led by the genius of Marshall Mannerheim and SISU

…The 1939 Winter War against the Russians, when the vastly outnumbered Finns destroyed five Soviet divisions, using Molotov cocktails, the “motti” tactic, and SISU

…The continuing fight against Communist “silent aggression,” avoiding the fate of Czechoslovakia, without foreign aid but with SISU

A saga of courage and idealism at the Eastern parapet of democracy.
This book is out of print, and of course history has veered a little since it was written, but it’s a great reminder that more than once in the past when the Finns were up against overwhelming odds, enough of them mustered the deep strength they needed to fight back hard enough and smart enough and long enough to win.

When I checked the Internet this morning there were just a few copies for sale used, with prices ranging from five bucks on up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad to see your remarks about my Dad's book. I read it -- with a very critical eye, knowing his prejudices -- when in school and came away feeling it was an outstanding work. It proves you can write great history without requiring your readers to wade through 800 pages of extraneous and redundant facts. Nice, tight, fresh and still current. And you can still get used copies on Amazon, though for some reason they range in price from $6 to $33. T Goodrich