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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)

"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 (69 )
5 star
 (38)
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4.4 (65 )
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Story
4.4 (66 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Thomas 18/09/2017
    Thomas 18/09/2017
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    34
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a great book. great story's from all sides."

    very well written and performed.
    great discriptions of people, places and circumstances.
    I like the light moments and the humor through out the book and the sensitive way the different story's are told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nell 15/12/2016
    Nell 15/12/2016 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    21
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible story"

    A very important story, very interesting and an easy listen. Wish the narrator could actually speak German though as her pronunciation of German words and names was awful. Other than that I enjoyed listening to her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Haydon 04/11/2016
    Michael Haydon 04/11/2016
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    23
    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
  •  
    BookFan 21/06/2016
    BookFan 21/06/2016 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    48
    10
    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
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    10
    7
    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
    4
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    27
    21
    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
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  • Edith
    Oakland, CA, United States
    5/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling"

    I found Funder's way of weaving the stories of her subjects into her own personal narrative to be quite skillful. These are sad stories, and they needed the frame of the author's interactions with her subjects.

    Ms. Fairman was the perfect reader for this book. Her voice has a delightfully light quality, and indeed may actually have given a lighter tone to the book than one would have gotten from reading it silently to oneself. Normally, I'd like an actor not to change the tone in any way. But here I was grateful to have some light moments in what might otherwise have been a dreary tale. It's good to know what happened in GDR, just as we need to know about the Nazis. This book provided vivid and heartbreaking views of the extremely personal way the Stasi penetrated and harmed the lives of GDR citizens. And of how some of those citizens, both victims of the Stasi and Stasi themselves, deal with life after the GDR. It also tells of people on both sides of the wall who took huge risks do the right thing.

    0 of 0 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
  • Aaron
    Singapore, Singapore
    11/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good details, too much author's emotions."

    Very interesting piece of history.
    The author spent too much time writing her feelings into the book. This book is more about her feels than a history piece.
    The narration was OK, but the terrible attempts at various voices was distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tim
    30/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    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
    12/03/16
    Overall
    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
    15/02/16
    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
    15/12/15
    Overall
    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
    23/04/14
    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
  • 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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shawn
    Lindon, UT, United States
    5/11/13
    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
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  • 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
  • Louise Sweeney
    UK
    18/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So interesting"

    I have read this book and now it has been my first full audio book as I had to go through it again, I find the history from this Stasi both horrifying and fascinating, and the stories told are very interesting. Having been to Berlin many times anna conjures up many memories of normal things there even now

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Rose
    Cambridgeshire
    4/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Stasi...And It's Impact"

    Stasiland is the first book by Anna Funder. In this book she explores the impact of the Stasi, the former East German security service. The Stasi impacted the population to varying degrees.


    The book is a very interesting. Using interviews it talks to both former officers of the Stasi and the people whom they, the Stasi, observed and impacted.


    If you, like me have an interest in the Stasi, the German Democratic Republic or the cold war. I would recommend this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    LAUNCESTON, United Kingdom
    20/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "gentler than expected"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book.and found the way the author had written it was sympathetic with some.quiet poetic descriptions in.places. a nice review of people's.stories.without.any bias either way. Just direct reflections of their experiences, which is refreshing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel MacAskill
    19/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ok"

    Narrator's accent is far too posh & here to convey this story. It just feels wholly incongruous.

    0 of 0 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

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