This book has been a long time in the making. It started life as a Ph.D. project and eventually a thesis defended at the University of Oslo in January 2014. While I have developed the manuscript since then, in between other jobs and commitments inside and outside of academia, the work done while I was a Ph.D. candidate has remained important, and the book still owes much to those who helped me back then. This goes for my two supervisors Odd Arvid Storsveen and Thomas Krogh, as well as for John Robertson at the University of Cambridge, who generously shared his time and insights during my research stay at Cambridge. At my defence, Thomas Munck and Henrik Horstbøll offered further valuable comments and advice.
Over the years, numerous colleagues and friends have also contributed to this book, some through direct comments on earlier versions of its various parts in conferences and seminars, others through more regular, but limited discussions of specific questions pertaining to the book. I’m especially indebted, in this regard, to Martin Austnes, Anne Eriksen, Bård Frydenlund, Ruth Hemstad, Marthe Hommerstad, Finn Erhard Johannessen, Ellen Krefting, Nils Rune Langeland, Jakob Maliks, Ola Mestad, Dag Michaelsen, Øystein Rian, Mona Ringvej, Thor Inge Rørvik, Hilde Sandvik, Morten Nordhagen Ottosen and Øystein Idsø Viken. Most recently, I have also benefitted greatly from the feedback given to me from Brill’s two anonymous reviewers and from the help provided by Paul Sager of Oxford Editing. Needless to say, all remaining errors, linguistic as well as historical, are my own.
Last, but not least, this book owes a lot to my family. My parents were the first to encourage my interest in history and have always been extremely supportive. The regular conversations with my father about my book and my work right up until his recent death, have been a particular source of joy and inspiration to me. He would have loved to see this book. My deepest debt, though, is to Lillian, for encouraging me to pursue a career not always ideal for family life and for having such patience with me and my deadlines, even when they interrupt holidays and weekends. If it had not been for her reminders about life in the present, not just the past, this book would not have been possible.
Oslo, April 2019