In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards, the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany.
In a country where the headquarters of the secret police could become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories. She meets Miriam, who, as a 16-year-old, might have started World War III; she visits the man who painted the line that became the Berlin Wall; and she gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the east, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist."
Each enthralling story depicts what it's like to live in Berlin as the city knits itself back together - or fails to. This is a history full of emotion, attitude, and complexity.
©2003 Anna Funder; (P)2009 Audible
"A brilliant and necessary book about oppression and history...Here is someone who knows how to tell the truth." (Evening Standard - Books of the Year)
"A journey into the bizarre, scary, secret history of the former East Germany that is both relevant and riveting." (Sunday Times Travel Books of the Year)
At first I was a bit turned off because the book seemed to be a little bit too autobiographical for my tastes. However, later on, after reading more of the book, I changed my mind about this. In a few places the autobiographical stance gave the stories some emotional depth.
I had never heard these stories before. The author is to be commended for collecting these personal stories and presenting them here.
The only weakness of the narrator was her lame attempt to affect a deep male-sounding voice. On the whole, the narration was great. When she reads in her natural, unaffected voice, she does a fine job. The narration was not distracting. I was able to focus on the author's train of thought.
I could not believe such stories being told through this book. A world I wish to never be apart of, a world that I have learned through this book. It really open my eyes. A beautiful book!
This book was not engaging. After many starts and stops, I finally gave up. I was disappointed because I really wanted to like this book.
I did not finish it.
I felt like the narrator really got in the way. It was like Mary Poppins reading to me. Very distracting. The story should have been really interesting but I found it dry and boring. Not impressed.
For the generation that grew up after the cold war, this is must read. It is unbelievable the paranoia that consumed the GDR. The narration was not the greatest as german words are used numerous times without a proper English meaning. Overall though a great read.
depth interest truth
topic of the stories
variety of aspects approached
how she depicts each of the people she interviewed and comments
honesty in the approach
the opening chapter immediately captivates and wants you to listen further
the story of the baby abandoned on the other side of the wall
fantastic to be recommended
I've read this book and listened to it. It reads really well, perhaps a little better than the audio book if you are familiar with German.
Stasiland like many other history texts tells an excellent account of people's lives in the past. However Stasiland reads a little less like a historical text and more like a personal account, because it is. Anna Funder injects her own personal experience in Germany and her interactions, feelings, and opinions in a way that is very informal and accessible.
No, she does this terrible male voice, furthermore the German voice is a little tiresome.
Stasiland is full of sad and depressing stories; though depending on your sense of humor you may find much that is funny.
No, publishers summary says "extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany," but 6 chapters in I'm still waiting... I was hoping for an exciting historical communist spy vs. people story, instead there was a lot of stuff about the reporter, her feelings and opinions etc. It was like a dull PBS/BBC p.c "isn't it terrible" essay that misses the greater point.
Not the genre, just the author and especially the performer.
Sounds like my old Aunties cheerful renditions of The Big Bad Wolf. The performance lacked intonation, therefore there was no emotional/passage or character differentiation. German voices had no accents but were simply read in a lower voice.
This is a tale of fact being stranger than fiction. Funder does a great job in giving an insight into the machinations of the Stasi in the DDR. Compelling listening.
"More a Slepyland than Spys and slipping free"
Story told by old people years after the events and not well researched. Every one seams to remembers twitching curtains and people in the shadows. The truth is too shrouded in folk stories and better done by TV and other books written years ago.
A number of flat and not that interesting tales told by old forgetfully East Germans looking for a reason why they did not try and get out when they could, or how heroic they where against the evil Starsie communists.
Having travelled through this region when a young boy I have heard it all before in greater detail and through the fog of Vodka and cigarettes. Better buy a ticket to Berlin and find some old madame get her drunk and listen to her tales they will be far more interesting and spiced up by the venue. Or buy this audio book and be disapoint by this tale told by a lady with nothing to do
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