The only Swedish entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is: ‘Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?’ These winged words might have been coined for Fishing in Utopia. They come from Axel Oxenstierna, Chancellor of Sweden in the seventeenth century under the formidable warrior-king Gustavus Adolphus. Oxenstierna founded the modern Swedish state, the latest manifestation of which is the subject of this book.
Andrew Brown is a devoted angler, hence the ‘fishing’ of the title. It conveys a touch of symbolism. Between 1977 and 1985, the author lived in Sweden, and thus saw the last years of the Swedish social-democratic model of society. Thereafter, as a journalist, he went back periodically to witness