A Popular Communist

In the latest Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens tells the story of the popular writer Stieg Larsson, who died a few years ago at age 50.  The circumstances of that death are explored in Hitchens’ article.  Hitchens helps to correct a common misperception afoot here in the United States. Some of our demagogues use “fascist” and “communist” as synonyms, despite a long and detailed history that shows that communists are the sworn enemies of fascists.  How that distinction has been lost in some of the public discourse in the U.S. perhaps proves only some people’s inability to attend to history, coupled with a desire for delation. Christopher Hitchens reveals some of the stories that have been attached to Larsson’s death.

A report in the mainstream newspaper Aftonbladet describes the findings of another anti-Nazi researcher, named Bosse Schön, who unraveled a plot to murder Stieg Larsson that included a Swedish SS veteran. Another scheme misfired because on the night in question, 20 years ago, he saw skinheads with bats waiting outside his office and left by the rear exit. Web sites are devoted to further speculation: one blog is preoccupied with the theory that Prime Minister Palme’s uncaught assassin was behind the death of Larsson too. Larsson’s name and other details were found when the Swedish police searched the apartment of a Fascist arrested for a political murder.

Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest will be out in English in the U.S. next year.  If you cannot wait, the novel is available now in the U.K. (as of 1 October).

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