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The Firm


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Districts Gransee and Perleberg under the Nazis 2. In the service of the Firm: The full-time Stasi employees 3. The candidate: Stasi informants 4. In the line of sight: Targeted by the Stasi 5. The Stasi in everyday life 6. The Downfall Conclusion Bibliography Index

About the Author

Gary Bruce is Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo and author of Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955.


"The Firm is notable for its high level of knowledge of German research and excellent source material. Gary Bruce's book is one of the finest English-language works on the subject, offering an astute analysis of the Communist repressive apparatus in the post-Stalin era."--The Journal of Cold War Studies "Gary Bruce's The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi is a well-written look inside the Ministry for State Security of East Germany. Combining archival research with extensive interviews, The Firm focuses in particular on two Stasi district offices, in Perleberg and in Gransee, north of Berlin."--Central European History "This is an outstanding new study of the former Communist East German secret police...[A] remarkable work."--The Military Advisor "Brilliantly written and deeply researched, this is the best book in any language on East Germany's Stasi. To cut through the myths and recreate the grassroots workings of the secret police, the author plowed through the archives and used oral interviews. We not only get inside 'the firm,' but learn how it operated and its social impact. This is an accessible history from a consummate professional and it deserves a broad audience."--Robert Gellately, author of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe "Gary Bruce's fascinating book is a major contribution to the enormous literature on the Stasi, providing a detailed study of how the Stasi operated at the local level to enforce communist rule. Bruce convincingly shows that the Stasi was sophisticated in its repression, relying on pervasive surveillance, psychological pressure, physical coercion, imprisonment, and blackmail to keep the population under control. Tracing the functions of the Stasi district organs from beginning to end, Bruce not only enriches the historiography on the Stasi but also touches on larger questions about the nature of the East German state. His book is an excellent complement to the best German works on this topic."--Mark Kramer, Director of the Harvard Project for Cold War Studies "This is surely the most detailed micro-analysis of the East German security service recently added to the existing flood of material on the a rare step, [Bruce] actually interviews a number of former Stasi staff, weaving from his conversations telling portraits of 14 of them."--Foreign Affairs "This brilliant, thoroughly researched, and highly readable account enables readers to better understand how the Stasi operated in everyday life and how its inescapable presence affected citizens."--CHOICE

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