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Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall | [Anna Funder]

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (165 )
5 star
 (74)
4 star
 (58)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (118 )
5 star
 (55)
4 star
 (36)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (118 )
5 star
 (51)
4 star
 (44)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    Shawn Lindon, UT, United States 11-05-13
    Shawn Lindon, UT, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    17
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not stand narrator"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Thornwood, NY, United States 08-22-13
    Amazon Customer Thornwood, NY, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "A must read for history buffs"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvie earlwood, Australia 05-12-13
    Sylvie earlwood, Australia 05-12-13 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderful"
    If you could sum up Stasiland in three words, what would they be?

    depth interest truth


    What did you like best about this story?

    topic of the stories
    variety of aspects approached
    how she depicts each of the people she interviewed and comments
    honesty in the approach


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the opening chapter immediately captivates and wants you to listen further


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the story of the baby abandoned on the other side of the wall


    Any additional comments?

    fantastic to be recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Fort Collins, CO, United States 04-23-13
    Robert Fort Collins, CO, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, not too fond of narrator"
    Where does Stasiland rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Stasiland to and why?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Denica Fairman’s performances?

    No, she does this terrible male voice, furthermore the German voice is a little tiresome.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Stasiland is full of sad and depressing stories; though depending on your sense of humor you may find much that is funny.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Una-Marie O'Leary Match 11-11-12

    druoleary

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    62
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cheerful Beatrix Potter Bedtime Story of the Stasi"
    Would you try another book from Anna Funder and/or Denica Fairman?

    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.


    Has Stasiland turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not the genre, just the author and especially the performer.


    What didn’t you like about Denica Fairman’s performance?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Walden Browne 05-21-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Absolutely fascinating. makes my everyday problems seem trite.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This window into life in East Germany before the fall of the wall kept my attention the whole way through. My everyday problems are pathetically insignificant compared to what these people suffered, and I appreciated the perspective this gave me as I drove to and from work over several days listening to this.


    Have you listened to any of Denica Fairman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I thought she was quite good. However, I started this book with my wife in the car, and she did not click with her narration. Therefore, I held back and gave her 4 stars instead of 5.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found the stories to be quite poignant.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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