We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
Stasiland Audiobook

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

Regular Price:$24.60
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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)

"All this and much else comes wonderfully to life in Funder's racy account. The real heroes of the book and of the resistance are Miriam and her murdered husband Charlie. Miriam, a reluctant citizen of the GDR, whose story runs as a central strand throughout this gripping book, has reason to be bitter. East Germany cannot die for her while its bogeymen are still living in the same flats and drinking in the same pubs."(The Guardian)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (48 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.3 (46 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (47 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Michael Haydon 04/11/2016
    Michael Haydon 04/11/2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Curate's Egg"

    Yes. Good in parts. I found the story interesting but the narrative by Denica Fairman left a lot to be desired and in the end couldn't wait to get it over and done with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tave Newcastle 21/06/2016
    Tave Newcastle 21/06/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sensational insight"

    Being born in the 80s it's hard to believe this was happening during my lifetime.
    Anna puts you in her shoes as she interviews people who lived behind the Iron curtain.
    I really enjoyed the way it was told, it was very personal and you felt like you got a small insight into what it was like to be these specific people during their hardships but she also delves into the overall picture of East Germany.
    It's such an interesting story I would love to find out more on this topic.

    A very well done book and highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob Brisbane 22/03/2016
    Jacob Brisbane 22/03/2016 Member Since 2016

    Lover of good stories, I simply love to hear it.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History is so close, like you are there"

    This is a great Audiobook, the recent end and history of the GDR is told from a human perspective. The absolute dedication and ongoing love affair with this strange oppressive system comes to life in these Ossies. I loved the book i had to listen to it twice, i felt as if Anna was talking to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stan 14/06/2015
    Stan 14/06/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Serious tales live up to expectations"

    Events in East Germany were a whole-of-society crushing of the human spirit. In this book, based on interviews with various people who had differing experiences, brings the people to life and amplifies the harsh impact of totalitarianism. The writing is remarkable and the telling excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Jane
    Darwin, Australia
    27/01/10
    Overall
    "Important book"

    Anna Funder visits what was East Germany, armed with fluent German and knowledge of international law. She listens to the stories of those who endured immense pain at the hand of the Stasi, the regime which replaced Hitler as dictators of this part of Germany. She also listened with undisguised amazement and horror, to the world view and self justifications of some of the Stasi themselves. In Stasiland she portrays a society imprisoned by the notorious Wall as well as webs of betrayal, lies, mental and emotional torture.

    This is neither sensationalist or a horror story. It is an intelligent, measured exploration of the extremes of human nature, from bravery and the capacity for endurance, to the self delusion and cruelty of dictators. It reveals the insidious ways that a people can be controlled through their minds -- in effect, life was simple if everyone capitulated without question to the arbitrary, contradictory, the blatantly ridiculous. In return, citizens were given apparent certainties in housing, employment and health, certainties which some now mourn.

    This is a shared personal journey and the narrator, Denica Fairman, offers a reading that works as an outstanding partnership with Funder.
    Stasiland not only delves into recent history, but places before the reader the realities of human nature that contribute to human society -- from small communities to whole nations.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Tristin
    Long Beach, CA
    7/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Author's narcissism blights otherwise good account"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is indeed laced with riveting accounts from ex-Stasi and the people they oppressed. You'll hear tense stories of teenage girls sneaking past dogs to jump the wall, meet with greying old ex-Stasi pensioners who reminisce about striking fear into the hearts of their neighbours and get an intimate sense of the surreal details of East German life that are even now being forgotten. But to get to these portions, you'll have to spend hours listening to Ms. Funder describe the inside of her Berlin apartment, detail her urban malaise, outline the workplace tensions at her public broadcasting job, etc. These plodding (and frequent) sections read like passages from a teenager's travel blog, and it's frustrating to think that Ms. Funder decided that the minutiae of her Berlin existence deserved equal billing beside the incredible stories told by her various sources. If a better (and more humble) writer had had access to the sources available to Ms. Funder, this book could have been a Pulitzer Prize winner. But as it stands, this is not the definitive account of East German life you're looking for.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wallen
    Danderyd, Sweden
    20/04/11
    Overall
    "Small people crushed by the events of time"

    This book is a valauble addition to the Audible line of books. It depicts how ordinary people - none of them really political activists - acted against the oppression of Communist East Germany. At times it is more suspensful than many suspense novels, even without having had that intention. The portraits are great and you really get to know these people - or at least you wish that you had known them.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Simone
    St-Laurent, Montreal
    27/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Interesting"

    I read this right after reading “The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989” by Frederick Taylor in the hopes that it would give me more of a people’s view rather then a politician’s view of life - and it did. I could have done without author’s story of how she went about writing the book itself, but still – I got what I wanted out of it and enjoyed it very much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alexis
    Oakland, CA, United States
    16/03/11
    Overall
    "an excellent book"

    Maybe it is because I too moved to Germany rather spontaneously, and ended up finding so much meaning here, that this book is not only one of the best I have ever ordered from Audible, but is also one of the best books of my experience. For anyone with an interest in modern German history, this book brings so much life and so many thought-provoking examples to the facts and figures of communist East Germany. The book is both emotionally and intellectually superb.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Galant
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    22/01/11
    Overall
    "A stunning achievement."

    This penetrating look at life in East Germany, seen from the perspective of an outsider, is saturated in heartbreak, courage and a fractured senses of safety.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vicki
    Townsville, Australia
    2/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Peeking behind the curtain"
    Where does Stasiland rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I don't often read non fiction so this was a real surprise - it has to rank up there with the best eye-witness accounts of the life experiences of people surviving in such different circumstances from my own. The generosity of of people to disclose such painful, sometimes humiliating experiences is a testament to the Anna Funder's capacity to retell - and in another language!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Stasiland?

    Walking through the Stasi prison with a victim-guide kept my emotions dancing on hot coals all night.


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

    What made the performance so good was the excellent pronunciation by Denica Fairman - getting things right. More often a story has been spoilt by the laziness of a performer failing to pronounce names and places correctly. The tone and spareness of the narration fully enabled the engagement of an over-active imagination like mine.


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

    I had to hold my breath when Anna, with brutal insight and honesty, met with each informant.


    Any additional comments?

    I had heard Anna Funder interviewed on radio a couple of times and it took me a few years to tackle the book. Brilliant.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anja Schmidt
    Denmark
    21/07/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So interesting"
    Would you listen to Stasiland again? Why?

    I seldom read anything twice.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When one of the main persons are taken in for interrogation about her love letters to a long gone boyfriend.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The great something watching over you


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is really fantastic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • LifetimeRoad
    Deep South
    12/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Personal Interviews with former GDR citizens"

    Conversations with citizens of the former GDR. Very little statistical information of the former East Germany. Leaves you wanting much more. "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea " is a much more interesting book in my view. Beware, Stasiland has some content not suitable for children.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • josh berg
    9/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great stories, great writing"

    Was headed to Berlin for a couple weeks and trying to capture a bit of the vibe of the city. No WWII stuff, more contemporary. This book was an excellent and synchronous choice. Funder is full of magic moments and the varied stories of former GDR citizens and authorities paint a good range of sentiment and perspective. Also rife with geographic reference, museums, etc. that I enjoyed tracking down as well. It really made my trip that much greater with some background on the gravity of certain places and situations. Funder's writing is excellent throughout and while keeping a generally straightforward approach, there are liberal flourishes of beautiful insight and stolen moments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Madeleine
    London, United Kingdom
    12/02/11
    Overall
    "Great project, well written but underdone"

    I'm glad to hear that Ms. Funder is now writing fiction, because I think she's a good writer but not a great researcher. There has been a trend in the last decade to embrace the inevitable subjectivity of any research by confronting and including researcher's subjective experiences into the account of the investigation. Ms. Funder does this to such an extent that she becomes a central character in the narrative and her reactions, which she writes about very eloquently, tend to overshadow the product of her research. So the book becomes, not a documentation of the experiences of people who were either in the Stasi or victims of it, but of her reaction to meeting them.

    I felt this book was okay, but simply did not have enough meat in it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen W
    Hamburg
    16/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little disappointing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Frankly there wasn't much in this book that I didn't know already. In fact I have heard a great deal more in German magazines.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    You cannot change the story, but as another reviewer already elquently stated, there needs to be more meat on this particular bone.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    This really is something that I fail to understand. If I was the author or publisher or indeed the narrator, I would take the trouble of finding out how to pronounce German words. One of the key characters is Uwe. Every time the narrator got it wrong it irritated the hell out of me.


    Did Stasiland inspire you to do anything?

    No, the whole Stasi story is peculiar to the Germans but the book did not tell me anything new


    Any additional comments?

    No, I really wanted to tlike this book and it disappointed me somewhat.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    ABINGDON, United Kingdom
    21/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More of a diary than a study"

    Well written and read but the book is more about the writer and her time in Germany trying to be a non fiction writer. Way too much filler where the writer describes how she feels, what she's thinking or how the light shines on this and that. There is some interesting stuff in there but its not detailed and not based on fact in the main.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. P. J. Curt
    Sale, United Kingdom
    1/11/11
    Overall
    "Different approach"

    This is a great read and uniquely written. Whilst you do learn much of the Stasi workings and general DDR state it is told by way of interesting encouters between the author and former East German subjects and Stasi members. Despite the nature of the subject matter it flows and is not the heavy read you may expect. You would need some level of interest in the times but it is a fresh take on the historical text. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • john gadd
    6/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not great"

    Narration was very poor which make the story poor also. Almost unbearable to listen to which is a shame because it could have be a good story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I. A. Wright
    Didcot, Oxon, England
    5/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ominous, thought-provoking, horrifying"

    This non-fiction work is a remarkable journey through the archives and, mostly, memories of people who lived through one of the world's most repressive states. It traces the experiences of ordinary people and of agents of East German State Security (Stasi), throughout that sickening Communist regime, which employed or coerced people to spy on citizens, to an estimated one 'spy' for every 6.5 others.

    The book tells of attempts to escape the government strangle-hold on everyone's daily life, of the inhumane methods the Stasi used to force people to spy on their friends, neighbours, and acquaintances... and of the dire consequences of refusal.

    This well-written book will open your eyes to a true Orwellian state.

    My only criticisms of the audiobook are that the reader, who does an excellent job, doesn't pronounce the German words correctly, missed out at least one sentence, and occasionally misspeaks 'a' for 'the', and the author's Anglicisation of 'Straße' as 'Street'.

    All in all, this book is excellent. It's definitely worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kindle Customer
    16/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a little slow to start but soon addictive..."
    Would you listen to Stasiland again? Why?

    The ferociously inhumane efficiency of the STASI is terrifyingly delineated by Anna Funder. Her focus on the effects of this regime on ordinary people is a great way to humanise and universalise this dreadful regime's activities.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pravin
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    7/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping account of the real people"
    What did you like most about Stasiland?

    Good pace. Engaging. Very keen to continue listening


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Stasiland?

    The story about her landlady and how her career seems to have been influenced by the Stasi


    What about Denica Fairman’s performance did you like?

    Well read and acted


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Lives made and lost behind the iron curtain!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Z.S.
    5/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb"

    Amazing narration. Great writing, sad but real stories.
    Recommend to anyone interested in modern history, especially Cold War and Berlin during the wall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Aaron Fuller
    United Kingdom
    25/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good, and excellently performed"
    Would you listen to Stasiland again? Why?

    I would, and indeed have, because as well as telling a good story, there is some excellent, descriptive writing, and I wasn't surprised to hear that the author has since published some fiction.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not technically a character as she's a real person, but the most complex was Julia, the author's landlady. However, I think part of the reason that she had so much depth was because of the excellent way in which she was narrated.


    Which character – as performed by Denica Fairman – was your favourite?

    As above.


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

    Unsurprisingly, the stories of some of the former East Germans evoked sympathy, but I was a little more surprised that another major emotion that came through was the author's frustration at certain aspects of living in modern day Germany. A scene when she goes swimming at a public pool, only to be told that she cannot swim because she has come at the wrong time, or the right time of the wrong day, could have been something out of the BBC programme 'From our own correspondent', which is a favourite of mine.


    Any additional comments?

    I can understand the comments that some reviewers have made about the relatively large amount of material about the author's life, rather than that of her subjects. But I didn't find that these sections made it a worse book, because those sections were well-written.

    One minor criticism is that I don't believe that the author was really able to get into the heads of the former Stasi officers that she interviewed. But this would obviously be a very difficult thing to do, and perhaps impossible given the very different upbringings and characters that the author and the interview subjects would have had.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.