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Stasiland Audiobook

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

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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 (223 )
5 star
 (103)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
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Overall
4.2 (168 )
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Story
4.2 (167 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Tim 03-30-16
    Tim 03-30-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    58
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    119
    23
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Utterly fascinating book. Very good narrator."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Franklin 03-12-16
    Franklin 03-12-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good read with important lessons"

    Slightly rambling with elaborate descriptions i found slightly excessive bit overall a good book and an easy listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 02-15-16
    Robert 02-15-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful! A story from behind the wall."

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JASON 12-15-15
    JASON 12-15-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "self indulgent and opinionated rambling"

    what is a very interesting topic was ruined by the rambling, self indulgent use of language and imagery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cardis Marina, CA, United States 04-23-14
    Cardis Marina, CA, United States 04-23-14 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "boring"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Anna Funder again?

    unsure


    How could the performance have been better?

    unsure


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I did not finish it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Lindon, UT, United States 11-05-13
    Shawn Lindon, UT, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "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
    7
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    15
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    "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
    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 2016
    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
    14
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    81
    7
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    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
Sort by:
  • Amanda
    Gisborne, Australia
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Gripping"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tony
    Southport, United Kingdom
    1/28/10
    Overall
    "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

    5 of 16 people found this review helpful

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