9780972005067Also available as an eBook on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo!


By: Mark Munger

Format: Trade paperback Price: $20.00.

Pages: 539

A body hangs from a birch tree in Lester Park. There is no explanation for the man’s death, no suspects are detained. How is the death tied to the turbulent times, an era of labor unrest, political change, immigration, and the fighting of a war not of America’s choosing?

Sound contemporary? This wonderfully paced historical novel takes place across the hilly shoulders of Northern Minnesota and Upper Peninsula Michigan at the dawn of the 20th Century. A love story. A diary of the American labor movement. A tale of heroism and combat set in the Great War, Suomalaiset is, above all else, a thoroughly entertaining story of Finnish immigration and intrigue. For those readers that loved Mark’s first novel, The Legacy, this new work is a “must read”.

The Reviews

Weaving a rich tale of the turbulent time from 1910 to the 1920s, Munger blends a mix of people from laborers to well-off civic leaders to produce an engrossing picture of the people and period along Lake Superior. Lake Superior Magazine

(T)he finest portrayal of life in the Northland at the turn of the last century that I’ve ever read…What makes this book special is the research and the incredible wealth of background information.  Northland Reader

As winter settles over the region, those souls wishing to avoid the cold and snow should brew a warm beverage and settle in front of the fire with Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh…This ambitious historical novel sweeps the reader into a world of romance, labor strife, and political change with action bridging from Northeastern Minnesota to Canada and across the Atlantic to France…Munger captivates the reader by combining a strong fictional story with historical details. Ripsaw

This book brings to life the rich history that Duluth holds…The book holds an element of mystery, love, and truth. Soundings

Munger deals admirably with the constraints imposed by historical fact, but interweaves fact and fiction smoothly and believably…Munger uses his knowledge of human nature and the troubled teen years of the last century to provide the reader with an all too believable theory of historical events…It’s a tricky thing to bring real people into fiction but (Munger’s) speculation about events still clouded by mystery…rings true. Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal

It’s difficult to put the novel down without contemplating how one is personally connected to early 20th century immigrant history, and further, what motivates today’s immigration…I strongly recommend Mark Munger’s Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh for casual reading as well as serious classroom study. The novel inspires us to examine not only our past but also the present-to envision new possibilities of what might have been and what could be. New World Finn

Mark Munger is not a Finn but his latest work, Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh, embodies a certain sensitivity toward his subject that I very much appreciate…I recommend the book as an excellent and entertaining work that provides a fictional peek into the forces coming to bear on the lives of Finnish immigrants in the upper Midwest. Finnish American Reporter

As we have been so much in Hirvensalmi in June and there is not much work that I can do, I have had time for reading…I finally read the book written by Judge Mark Munger (Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh) which is very interesting for me because it gave such a good idea of Duluth and Minnesota mining areas…Now I can better understand what life was like there and the difficulties that the Finnish immigrants may have had. Rea Holopainen, Helsinki, Finland

“INCREDIBLE book. As a Minnesota gal with Finnish ancestry and relatives from Michigan that moved to Minnesota. It felt as though this could have been one of my ancestors. Beautiful storytelling and realistic representations of life during the era of the book. Lovingly careful with the personalities and immigrant stories. I loved it! I gave it to my mom to read, she loved it. I gave it to my dad to read, and he loved it!” K. Ferrier (5 star Goodrads review)

A message for Mark:

I just got done reading Suomalaiset…Loved the book!… Thanks Mark, for a great book! I will be buying another one. Lisa Berglund


6 Responses to Suomalaiset

  1. Judy Isaacson says:

    Dear Mark: I am very impressed with your detailed descriptions of the beautiful Northern Minnesota area in which we live. This book is rich in history and combines the elements of a love story and the hardship that our ancestors had to endure during the early 1900s. Very interesting & enjoyable! Thank you!

  2. Lila Koivisto, FK says:

    Some years ago..went to Borders.
    In MN authors saw name Suomalaiset.
    Just one copy. Had just lost my job, but bought it.
    Found the book engrossing.
    Of an era I knew very little of.
    Thank you kiitos…… for your apt description of Finns…

    • Mark says:

      Lila: Thank you ever so much. You can find the sequel, Sukulaiset: The Kindred (a love story (Elin Gustafson from Suomalaiset is the main character) set in Karelia, Finland, and Estonia during WW II) right on this website and order it! Or, at your favorite bookstore or from Amazon. It’s the book that I am most proud of. The final book, Kotimaa: Homeland, the end of my Finnish trilogy, is now in the final editing stages and should be out in 2019. Kiitos!

  3. Gretchen Lempiö says:

    I am a fan of historical novels and found this book especially resonant with my Finnish Copper Country heritage. My great grandparents resided in the Keweenaw as immigrants during the time period depicted. Having dabbled in genealogy, I never could feature their bigger stories but this book lent a welcome image of similar lives and struggles of the times. The accuracy of historical events creates a linear aspect to the pieces of information that survive the generations and flesh out personal history. I particularly enjoyed the author’s detailed account of the hardships and adventure of a logger’s daily travails. I could see and hear the complicated and laborious efforts during the transport of the logs through the rivers and lakes. I intentionally read this book at a slow pace because I wanted to savor it to the end. Now, if only there were a sequel. Wait – there is! Sukulaiset: The Kindred. And Kotimaa: Homeland.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks for reading my work. Sukulaiset is the second volume of the trilogy. Kotimaa, which was just released a year ago, is the conclusion. Please feel free to write reviews or rate those books if and when you’ve read them. Again, kiitos!

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