Alva Myrdal

Alva Myrdal

The Passionate Mind
Yvonne Hirdman
Translated by Linda Schenck
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/3/2008
Format: cloth 448 pages, 34 b&w photos
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-35132-6
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Alva Myrdal, the scholarly partner and wife of Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal, was an innovative social scientist and thinker in her own right. She helped to lay the intellectual foundations of Sweden's social welfare state, pioneered educational innovations, and became an activist for human rights. Her extensive disarmament efforts won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. At the same time, she struggled with many of the issues that today's ambitious women still find challenging. Myrdal's published work and the choices she made in her life spoke to the tensions that these conflicts produced and to the ways she tried to reconcile them. Hers is a remarkable and dramatic story that transcends borders and has particular resonance today. Yvonne Hirdman's biography of Alva Myrdal has been published to great acclaim in Sweden. In it, she creates an intimate, impassioned portrait of one of the great women of the 20th century.

Author Bio

Yvonne Hirdman is Professor of Gender History at the University of Stockholm. She is author or co-author of more than ten books on women's and labor history and the welfare state. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Linda Schenck's translations include works by Selma Lagerlöf, Kerstin Ekman, and Majgull Axelsson.


"It's brilliant. A masterpiece. Read and tremble!" —Ulrika Knutson, Kulturnytt

"An impressive gender drama and an equally striking picture of 20th-century women's history." —Marianne Ekenbjorn, Sundsvalls Tidning

". . . Hirdman's account is a riveting psychological and emotional portrait of the Myrdal marriage. . . . Recommended. All levels/libraries." —Choice , July 2009

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Table of Contents



1. The Child Prodigy
2. Love by Letter
3. The Two Cages
4. Encounter with Reality
5. Joie de Vivre
6. The Firm—Social Engineering, Inc.
7. A New Deal?
8. A Human Dilemma
9. Breeding Secret Dissatisfaction
10. "Good God, what a challenge!"
11. The Ambassador
12. A Cause, Gunnar, a Cause!