In the 19th and early 20th centuries about 1,3 million Swedes left Sweden for the USA. Nearly 25% of the population. Many settle down in Minnesota. The book is describing the hard life in Swede Hollow. They left Sweden for a better life but for many poverty and exclusion continued. Some went back to Sweden and started a new life in thier old country. They brought back knowledge and money. So there was some high lights as well.