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Stasiland
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About the Author

Anna Funder is the author of the acclaimed All That I Am, winner of the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award, among other awards. Her first book, the internationally bestselling Stasiland, won the 2004 Samuel Johnson Prize and was published in twenty countries and translated into sixteen languages. Anna Funder is a former DAAD and Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. She grew up in Melbourne and Paris and now lives in New York with her husband and family. Visit the author online at annafunder.com Follow the author on Facebook

Reviews

In this notable debut, Australian author Funder presents a fascinating investigation of an important issue in present-day Berlin, namely, the legacy of East Germany's pervasive secret police, the Stasi, who created the most perfect surveillance state of all time, and of those who had the courage to resist during the Communist regime. Funder, who became captivated by Berlin while working there in the 1990s, gathers stories of those with firsthand experience of the cruel Stasi mind-set during the Cold War. For instance, teenager Miriam Weber was imprisoned for attempting escape over the Berlin Wall, Frau Paul was denied access to her ill infant in West Berlin, and East German rock star Klaus Renft was declared by authorities to no longer exist. If these stories were the only ones Funder recounted, the book would lack balance. But here we also meet Stasi agents and informers, including Hagen Koch, the cartographer of the wall, and Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler, a propagandist for the regime and a particularly odious example of the Stasi attitude. Although this is his first book, Funder writes with skill and style. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

'Anna Funder's Stasiland demonstrates that great, original reporting is still possible. She found her subject in East Germany, went for it bravely and delivers the goods in a heartbreaking, beautifully written book. A classic for sure.' Guardian 'A moving and intimate history that is in theory about East German Post WWII but is also about how we struggle to remain human when subject to the most inhuman invasions of privacy.' -- Sophie Cunningham Age 'This is a series of beautifully told personal accounts...all told by a writer who is both evocative and gently persuasive. This is history written from the standpoint of the individual rather than the larger, more impersonal and abstract world of events and actions.' Sydney Morning Herald 'Absolutely compelling...This book draws you into the world it describes and connects you with the people in that world.' Australian Bookseller & Publisher 'Funder balances the roles of the interviewer, historian and friend in a brilliant, absorbing narrative.' Brenda Niall, Australian Book Review 'Stasiland is undoubtedly creative non-fiction at its most riveting best. Indeed, it is also testimony to Funder's curiosity, tenacity, and novel-like story telling ability which sustain the intensity and engagement with such dark and gripping themes.' Australian Writer 'A compelling, sad, blackly funny and well-written book.' Choice 'Colourful, intensely observed, well executed, with lots of black humour and disturbing undertones.' Kirkus Reviews '[A] brilliant account of this passionate search for a brutal history in the process of being lost, forgotten and destroyed. It is a masterpiece of investigative analysis, written almost like a novel, with a perfect mix of compassion and distance.' Sunday Times 'With her debut Stasiland Anna Funder has certainly announced herself as one of the leading non-fiction writers of the present day, Sydney's very own answer to Joan Dideon...Funder's writing persona is taut and pale, interior and existential, yes, but absolutely enmeshed in history. We are fortunate to witness her arrival.' Freezerbox 'A brilliant and necessary book about oppression and history. The author's investigation of life in the former German Democratic Republic both devastates and lifts the heart. Here is someone who knows how to tell the truth.' Evening Standard 'In a gripping, often chilling account that peels away the clandestine layers of the former German Democratic Republic, Funder charts a precarious course through a world of broken dreams and shattered lives.' Australian Gourmet Traveller 'Stasiland is a strange but affecting catalogue of anecdotes about East Germans living under the old communist regime...Funder certainly writes well, possessing a clean, accessible prose style with a good eye for descriptive detail.' Courier-Mail 'Funder's gripping account of the era has the descriptive but restrained prose of a novel.' Guardian

To recast a cliche, truth is often stronger than fiction: more powerful precisely because it is real. Stasiland is a case in point. Australian Anna Funder has written an absolutely compelling book about the recent history of the former East Germany, focusing on the effects the actions of the country's secret police, the Stasi, had on ordinary citizens. This book draws you into the world it describes and connects you with the people in that world; people at once part of our common humanity, but at the same time from a different sphere. As good as it is, it isn't the writing that makes Funder's book so powerful. Rather, it is the stories she retells that make it riveting. Funder had the skill (and probably some luck as well) to find people with truly amazing stories to tell, and was then able to coax them into parting with those stories, sometimes for the first time. The result is frightening portraits of ordinary lives made nearly unbearable by a brutal state. But unimaginable hardships were (mostly) borne, and there were many courageous acts within limited possibilities. Despite the entirely inappropriate cover shown here, booksellers should have no hesitation in recommending Stasiland to all and sundry. Lorien Kaye is editor of AB&P. C. 2002 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

"Its job was to know everything about everyone, using any means it chose. It knew who your visitors were, it knew whom you telephoned, and it knew if your wife slept around." This was the fearsome Stasi, the Ministry for State Security of the late and unlamented German Democratic Republic. Funder, an Australian writer, international lawyer and TV and radio producer, visiting Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, finds herself captivated by stories of people who resisted the Stasi-moving stories that she collects in her first book, which was shortlisted for two literary awards in Australia. For instance, Miriam Weber, a slight woman with a "surprisingly big nicotine-stained voice," was placed in solitary confinement at the age of 16 for printing and distributing protest leaflets; she was caught again during a dramatic nighttime attempt to go over the Wall. Filtered through Funder's own keen perspective, these dramatic tales highlight the courage that ordinary people can display in torturous circumstances. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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