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Two Homelands

Two Homelands

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A Historian Considers His Life and Work

Author Odd S. Lovoll

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 1, 2018)

After decades of telling other's stories, Odd Lovoll places his own life in the larger context of Norwegian and Norwegian American experiences from World War II to the present day.


Odd S. Lovoll has spent his career chronicling the stories of Norwegian immigrants to the United States and Canada. He, too, was an immigrant at a young age, and like many international migrants returned to his homeland for a period during his young adult life before settling permanently in the United States. This personal connection has long informed his work, and now he turns his academic's eye to his own story.

In Two Homelands, Lovoll narrates the full arc of his life, beginning with memories of hardship during World War II, while his father was separated from the family, followed later by the devastating loss of his older brother in a sailing accident. He considers language and cultural barriers faced as an immigrant to the United States and then as an outsider when he returned to Norway. He traces his early years as a teacher in Norway, his marriage and family life, and on through his scholarly work and extensive career as a researcher, writer, and professor in the United States.

Through autobiographical tales interwoven with details of his research, this book links Lovoll's experience with that of other immigrants and points to intriguing intersections in his professional and personal lives.

Author information

Professor emeritus of history at St. Olaf College, Odd S. Lovoll is the author of several books on the Norwegian American immigrant experience, among them Norwegians on the Prairie, Norwegian Newspapers in America, and Across the Deep Blue Sea.

Of interest:
Interview with Odd S. Lovoll on MPR
A boy in wartime: St. Olaf prof recalls Nazi invasion of Norway

Reviews and news

Minnesota History Magazine
Star Tribune
Northfield News
The Norwegian American

Advance Praise:

Two Homelands is an insightful and personal narrative written by the greatest authority on Norwegian immigration to America. The author’s lifelong transnational experience and his attachment to two countries which he calls home offer new perspectives to migration scholars and general readers alike.”
Terje Mikael Hasle Joranger, PhD, editor of Norwegian-American Essays

“Odd S. Lovoll draws upon his deep knowledge from a lifetime of research and writing to explore his own experience of migration—a child separated from his father during World War II, an adolescent adjusting to a new land and culture, a professional historian with a family navigating ‘two homelands.’ The result is a dramatic narrative, one that combines events of the last century with a scholar’s knowledge and wisdom to examine family migrations—their joys, sorrows, regrets, and enduring bonds.”
Betty A. Bergland, co-editor of Norwegian American Women: Migration, Communities, and Identities

“Odd S. Lovoll knows more about Scandinavians in America than any other living person. At long last, after many books about waves of immigrants from Norway, he tells his own story with moving honesty, insight, and charm.”
J. R. Christianson, research professor of history, Luther College

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 256 pages
  • 30 b&w photos
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341156

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