LAW & CRIME

Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome

Norton. Aug. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780393635089. $26.95. CRIME
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In 1973, in Stockholm, Sweden, convicted criminal Jan-Erik Olsson disappeared while on furlough, robbed a bank, and took hostages, who ended up identifying with Olsson and even defending him even as police attempted to rescue them. Their unusual behavior resulted in the term Stockholm syndrome, or hostages’ tendencies to bond with their captors. King (The Trial of Adolf Hitler) offers a blow-by-blow account of this thrilling, terrible, and strange event, describing the setting and main figures, from the Kreditbanken that Olsson robbed to the hostages, law enforcement personnel, and Olsson and the other perpetrators who assisted him. The narrative is taut, detailed, and reminiscent of a documentary. A minor criticism: King spends a disproportionate amount of time chronicling the events and the individuals involved rather than exploring Stockholm syndrome, as the book’s subtitle seems to suggest. Regardless, readers will feel the tension as they stand outside with police and journalists, as they are drawn into the bank vault along with the hostages, and as they witness the confusing resolution that followed.
VERDICT Engrossing, well researched, and tailor-made for true crime enthusiasts.

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