The definitive account of the bizarre hostage drama that gave rise to the term “Stockholm Syndrome.”
On the morning of August 23, 1973, a man wearing a wig, make-up, and a pair of sunglasses walked into the main branch of Sveriges Kreditbank, a prominent bank in central Stockholm. He ripped out a submachine gun, fired it into the ceiling, and shouted, “The party starts!” This was the beginning of a six-day hostage crisis—and media circus—that would mesmerize the world, drawing into its grip everyone from Sweden’s most notorious outlaw to the prime minister himself.
As policemen and reporters encircled the bank, the crime-in-progress turned into a high-stakes thriller broadcast on live television. Inside the building, meanwhile, complicated emotional relationships developed between captor and captive that would launch a remarkable new concept into the realm of psychology, hostage negotiation, and popular culture.
Based on a wealth of previously unpublished sources, including rare film footage and unprecedented access to the main participants, Six Days in August has captured the surreal events in their entirety, on an almost minute-by-minute basis. It is a rich human drama that blurs the lines between loyalty and betrayal, obedience and defiance, fear and attraction—and a groundbreaking work of nonfiction that forces us to consider “Stockholm syndrome” in an entirely new light.
"American historian and author King shares remarkable on-the-ground details of the famed Norrmalmstorg robbery of 1973 in this smart cross between a true-crime thriller and a psychological investigation.”
—Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American
"Reads like a thriller novel; King's writing is electrifying but never lurid . . . a true-crime book that has real appeal to all readers — it's a thrilling look back at a robbery that remains one of the most bizarre crimes of the 20th century."
—Michael Schaub, Minneapolis StarTribune
"As with his excellent historical true-crime book Death in the City of Light, King put an immense amount of archival research into Six Days in August, at the same time transferring the story out of its original language into terrific English prose . . . Six Days in August is a substantial contribution to the literatures of true crime and popular culture alike."
—Tim Morris, Lection
"David King has made those six days, and their long aftermath, the focus of this intriguing new book, which brings new insights into just exactly what transpired in that Swedish bank."
—CrimeReads, naming it as one of six books in its list of the Best New Crime Nonfiction, August 2020
"A mesmerizing account, not only of the first bank heist to become a global media sensation as it was happening, but of how our understanding of ‘Stockholm syndrome’ is all wrong. Six Days in August is impeccably researched, with characters out of central casting and riveting dialogue. Black humor, Scandinavian noir, and it’s all true.”
—Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
"Six Days in August reads like a movie. Drawing on interviews with surviving robbers and their victims, David King weaves a page-turning tale about the bank siege that captivated the world, and gave rise to the term “Stockholm syndrome.” An American historian fluent in Swedish, [King] . . . is adept at teasing out the humanity of the criminals as well as their victims, helping the reader to understand the unlikely and psychologically complex bonds that develop between victim and oppressor.”
—Dan Bilefsky, staff writer for the New York Times and author of The Last Job: The “Bad Grandpas” and the Hatton Garden Heist
"King's writing about a true case of crime comprising cruelty
and an ever-present threat of carnage is truly captivating
—Dr. Peter Morall, Criminal Law Criminal Justice Books, Rutgers School of Law and Rutgers School of Criminal Justice
"A great read for everyone. It reads fast and sticks to the facts."
—Brendan Dowd, History Nerds United
"A groundbreaking account of the six-day hostage crisis."
"Suspenseful . . . A true-crime page-turner about one of the most notorious bank heists of the past half century."
“Entertaining . . . True crime fans will love this engrossing and exhaustive account.”
"King offers a blow-by-blow account of this thrilling, terrible, and strange event . . . Engrossing, well researched, and tailor-made for true crime enthusiasts."
Reads like a thriller novel; King's writing is electrifying.
—Michael Schaub, Minneapolis StarTribune