I was born in 1948 in Södertälje which is a small industrial town just south of Stockholm. My parents who both were survivors of the Holocaust settled there in 1947 and I lived there until 1961, the year after my father had died. I then moved with my mother and younger sister to Stockholm and then to Israel and then back to Stockholm again. Between 1966 and 1968 I studied at the University of Stockholm, with a BA in mathematics, philosophy, political science and journalism. The doctoral degree I nevertheless have attained is an honorary one, generously awarded me by the University of Gothenburg (in 2000).

In 1970 I left academic studies to work as a journalist which I have done ever since, mostly as a reporter and foreign correspondent for Swedish radio and television, essayist and columnist in major Swedish newspapers and magazines, producer of documentaries and writer of books.

Among my books are Friare kan ingen vara, den amerikanska idén från Revolution till Reagan, (An essay on the American idea, Norstedts 1991, revised edition Bonniers 2004 and 2008), Det förlorade landet, en personlig historia (a personal history of Zionism, Messianism and the State of Israel, Bonniers 1996, shortlisted for the August Prize 1996, also in Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, German (Das verlorene Land, Suhrkamp Verlag 1998) and French (L’utopie perdue, Denoël 2002), Tankar om journalistik (Reflections on Journalism), Prisma 2000 (also in Danish and Norwegian), Plikten, profiten och konsten att vara människa, (Duty, Profit and the Art of Being Human, also Danish and Norwegian), Bonniers 2003. My most recent book is Ett kort uppehåll på vägen från Auschwitz, A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz, Bonniers 2012, also in Norwegian, Danish, English, German, French, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Dutch, Hebrew, Portuguese and forthcoming in Hungarian. Winner of the August Prize 2012. The French translation, Une brève halte après Auschwitz (Seuil 2014), was awarded the Prix du meilleur livre étranger of 2014. 

Essays and articles of mine have been translated and published in, among others, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lettre Internationale, Daedalus, New Perspectives Quarterly, The New York Times and Eurozine (see articles). 
Among my film documentaries are The Black City with the White House (together with Mats Lund), which was awarded the Golden Nymph for best news documentary at the 1990 International Television Festival in Monte Carlo, and Goethe and Ghetto (together with Peter Berggren) which won the Czech Crystal at the International Film Festival in Prague 1996.