Congratulations Mirkka Lappalainen!
February 03rd, 2010
Historian Mirkka Lappalainen has been awarded the Lauri Jäntti Prize for her non-fiction book entitled Wolf Mass (orig. Susimessu), depicting the Swedish Civil War of 1597-98. The Prize is worth 15,000 euros. The Jäntti Foundation awards the Prize annually to the author of a significant Finnish non-fiction book.

The judging panel justified its decision on the following grounds:

Doctor of Philosophy Mirkka Lappalainen has experienced a relatively rapid rise to success, becoming one of the few Finnish historians capable of writing to the general public. The author’s position at the top is reinforced by her latest book, Wolf Mass, which depicts the 1590s civil war in Sweden and Finland. Lappalainen taps into the Finns’ natural interest in the Club War (also Cudgel War, Finnish Nuijasota), which was a 1596 peasant uprising, located within the kingdom of Sweden in what is today Finland, against their exploitation at the hands of the nobility and military. Lappalainen looks at the events within the wider context of the kingdom of Sweden, Northern Europe, and of the Catholic Church.

The unrest that occurred between the reign of Gustav I, later known as Gustav Vasa, and that of his grandson, Gustav II Adolf, is presented in a whole new light. Wolf Mass includes consideration of the period’s leaders, its nobility, popular nationalism, luckless battles, and the power struggles between Rome and the Lutheran church. Much has already been written about the sons of Gustav Vasa (Eric XIV, John III and Charles IX), as well as about Sigismund (the son of John III), Baron Clas Eriksson Fleming (in Finnish Klaus Fleming) and Jaakko Ilkka (a Finnish peasant leader of the 1596 Club War uprising), but Lappalainen manages to expand the context of these events, and delves deeper into the personality of each of these historical characters. Whilst doing this, she also manages to shed light on this chaotic period of history.