In this very personal book, Mead explains on the basis of more than half a century's experience how his interests in Finland developed in parallel with its transformation from a pre-war agrarian economy to a modern welfare state with an advanced technological base. An interpretation of the landscape is accompanied by descriptions of the features - often peculiar to Finland - that stir the five senses. Reactions to daily life and labour are balanced by the response to the state of the arts. There is an introduction to Finland's rich demographic and cartographic sources, there are vignettes of Finns from the past who have been the subject of the author's research, and there is much about Anglo-Finnish relations. The book is not a comprehensive survey, but illustrates familiar topics with a mass of "unconsidered trifles" - a diary here, a manuscript there; an idea here, a critical observation there - to produce an unusual and often intimate picture of Finland and its people.
Metaphor and metamorphosis; the Finnish landscape; chambers of consciousness; encounters with the past; the record of the land and the people; living space and working place; the state of the arts; great expectations.