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Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin…
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Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall (original 2003; edition 2011)

by Anna Funder

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1,131367,247 (4.08)61
Member:Cfraser
Title:Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
Authors:Anna Funder
Info:Harper Perennial (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder (2003)

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English (32)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  English (36)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Lasting for 41 years the German Democratic Republic (commonly known as East Germany) was a communist country in post world war 2 divided Germany that lasted primarily due to the iron fist of the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit or Ministry for State Security (commonly known as the Stasi).

The Stasi developed the most advanced surveillance society the world had ever seen. No one was safe, and 1 in 50 people were either Stasi or an informant for them. As such, everyone was watched, everyone walked on egg shells. Privacy didn't exist, all mail was opened, most phone calls tapped. Many houses and public places bugged. If you attempted to leave you risked being shot in escape, or 2 years imprisonment if caught during escape. You had to apply to leave, and if deemed unsavoury, your application to leave would be used as evidence to charge you with the crime wanting to flee the GDR. Really.

This book, is a piece of that story - the story of the people who lived in such a place.

And it's good. Really good. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Sep 18, 2016 |
The author is an Australian journalist who lived in Berlin and Leipzig in the late 1990s and recorded the stories of East Germans, both the victims of abuses by the dreaded Stasi (Ministry of State Security) and the former perpetrators, most of whom seem quite unrepentant about what they did. The stories by the victims are often horrifying and pathetic (in the true sense of that word), stories of split families, carefully planned escapes foiled at the last minute, and the all-pervasive atmosphere of distrust, deceit and Orwellian mass surveillance and informing, including by people blackmailed into informing on their own loved ones. A depressing but important read now a generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall. ( )
  john257hopper | Nov 11, 2015 |
Having no knowledge of the destination before reading this book, Funder's guide to 'Stasiland' provided a compelling insight into life within enforced boundaries, under constant surveillance. Cleverly written so as fact engages like fiction, this book enables you to walk with the East Berliners and consider how you would respond to and resolve the experience of 'Stasiland'. The true stories of individual desperate efforts to get over, under or through the wall in the physical sense and the efforts to contain them were engaging, but most powerful for me was the insight provided into humanity. I was exposed to the kinds of motives, weaknesses and courage we are all capable of and it was made clear that 'getting over the wall' will be a life long endeavour for the victims and perpetrators alike. This book highlighted to me the values of freedom and privacy as well as the importance of such literature for societies of all political persuasions. ( )
  Hanneri | Apr 2, 2015 |
I mostly enjoyed this look at East Germany in the decade after the wall came down. It was especially interesting to me because I remember watching all the events leading to the fall of the GDR unfold. I even have an authentic piece of the wall a college friend brought me from his trip to Germany in the summer of 1990. He swears he chipped it off himself, lol. I was interested to read more about ordinary people from the East and their experiences.
Funder shares stories of people who were persecuted by the Stasi, and stories of people who worked for the Stasi. The stories are really interesting, and it is clear that Funder has the ability to create trust with those she interviewed, as well as the ability to communicate the stories with all their emotion and pathos to the reader. A couple of things bothered me. One was that this is someone not only from the West, but not even from Germany doing the writing, and so, in a way, it's really a research project. I was also a little troubled by the judgmental tone that occasionally came across in the writing. The style is journalistic, but easy to read, and if you're interested in the subject, it's worth your time. ( )
  nittnut | Nov 28, 2014 |
This is a "must read" for anyone wanting to understand what life was like in the former East Germany. Anna Funder speaks to victims of the Stasi (State Police) and former employees of the organisation. It is written in a haunting, captivating tone and manages, also, to give the reader a real flavour of what it was like for Anna herself living in the former East Berlin. ( )
  MargaritaMorris | Oct 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
While the life-stories are touching and infuriating, she fails to offer insights that would have given her book a wider theme. Nevertheless, taken with a pinch of salt, Stasiland is worth reading. In the end, German history is too serious to be left solely to the Germans.
added by SamuelW | editThe Independent, Henning Hoff (Jul 31, 2003)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anna Funderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kloos, CarolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterward the two Germanys reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder’s bestselling Stasiland brings us extraordinary tales of real lives in the former East Germany. She meets Miriam, who tried to escape to West Berlin as a sixteen-year-old; hears the heartbreaking story of Frau Paul, who was separated from her baby by the Berlin Wall; and gets drunk with the legendary “Mik Jegger of the East,” once declared by the authorities—to his face—“no longer to exist.” And she meets the Stasi men themselves, still proud of their surveillance methods. Funder’s powerful account of that brutal world has become a contemporary classic.
[retrieved 2/19/2013 from Amazon.com]
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In this book, Anna Funder tells the stories of people who found the courage to resist the Stasi, the communist regime's secret police.

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