Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome

David King. Norton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-63508-9
Historian King (The Trial of Adolf Hitler) delivers an entertaining, minute-by-minute account of the 1973 Swedish bank robbery and hostage crisis that gave rise to the term “Stockholm syndrome.” Opening with the moment gunman Jan-Erik Olsson entered Sveriges Kreditbank, King chronicles the taking of four bank workers as hostages; the arrival of Olsson’s former cellmate, Clark Olofsson (whose release Olsson had demanded, along with cash and free passage), at the bank; police efforts to bring the stalemate to an end; and the dramatic, tear gas–driven finale. Drawing on newspaper accounts and interviews, King brings readers into the stifling bank vault where Olsson and Olofsson hunker with their captives, documents debates among police and politicians over how to handle the crisis, follows journalists as they report on the story, and notes that one of the hostages had a brief affair with Olofsson after the ordeal was over. In a thorough analysis of the syndrome itself (defined by psychiatrist Nils Bejerot as “a paradox of common interest between hostage-taker and his victims”), King notes that the phenomenon’s wide acceptance in law enforcement and psychology circles, as well its permanent place in popular culture, belie its relatively rarity in hostage cases. True crime fans will love this engrossing and exhaustive account. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/05/2020
Release date: 08/04/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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