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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world