MacLehose/Quercus £12.99

The Expo Files, By Stieg Larsson (trs Laurie Thompson)

A crusading journalist who was more than just the man of the Millennium

Stieg Larsson did far more in his sadly abbreviated life than write bestsellers. As demonstrated in this collection of his non-fiction, the author of the 65-million selling Millennium trilogy was also a dogged opponent of xenophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and homophobia. The story goes that he witnessed a rape when he was a teenager and, haunted by his failure to intervene, was forever infuriated when authorities failed to protect the vulnerable in society.

The essays in The Expo Files, written between 1983 and 2005, mainly for left-leaning publications including the Stockholm journal, Expo, where Larsson was editor-in-chief, often take a news item and fill in the unreported history and context. The 1995 piece "Terror Killings Can Happen in Stockholm", by sifting through the writings and activities of extremist groups such as Combat 18 and Blood and Honour, shows how the Oklahoma bombing – far from the work of a "one-off madman", as claimed by the authorities – had "a political and historical explanation". There is a chilling prescience to Larsson's statement that "the indications are that a similar terrorist attack could take place [here]", given the rampage in 2011 in neighbouring Norway by the Islamophobe Anders Behring Breivik.

In a similar vein, the essay "The New Popular Movement" (1999) progresses from the London nailbomber David Copeland's BNP affiliations to a hair-raising timeline of the far-right in Europe and America. This history of "sanitised fascists", as Tariq Ali memorably puts it in his introduction, highlights the respectable veneer and electoral gains of a movement "whose aims have not changed noticeably since the 1930s".

There are shocking pieces about the post-9/11 rise in right wing sentiment, about the blossoming of online race hate forums, as well as a biting exposé of Sweden's National Democrats' hypocritical use of the slogan "Stop gang rape – stop immigration", when their leader Tor Paulsson was arrested for beating up his wife.

These pieces are mostly too short to meditate on why, for example, hate politics might appeal to certain groups in society. But in a subtle and far-reaching longer piece titled "Swedish and Un-Swedish Violence towards Women" there is a brilliant deconstruction of the media's role in fostering "men's need to control women" and the fact that, according to Larsson, violence against women is now "a conditioned reflex in Swedish men".

The concluding piece is a travelogue of Larsson's 1987 journey on the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Beijing. It demonstrates his eye for smaller, funnier human details than the rest of the collection can really allow for, and the 9,000km-long human drama is sewn together by a series of historical observations deftly sketching Russia's past via the towns and waystations the train passes. All of which might seem insignificant in a collection of such moral and political gusto, but in fact proves the comprehensiveness of Larsson's vision, reinforcing the loss to literature – not just to movie-fodder – when he died at the age of 52.

Admirably translated by Laurie Thompson to give a sense of Larsson's no-nonsense style, and with a warm, revealing foreword by Larsson's friend and colleague Daniel Poohl, The Expo Files will certainly appeal to fans wanting a fuller picture of the man, but should more importantly be a spur to democratic participation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone