“Stasiland demonstrates that great, originalreporting is still possible. . . . A heartbreaking, beautifully written book. Aclassic.” —Claire Tomalin, Guardian “Books ofthe Year”
AnnaFunder delivers a prize-winning and powerfully rendered account of theresistance against East Germany’s communist dictatorship in these harrowing,personal tales of life behind the Iron Curtain—and, especially, of life underthe iron fist of the Stasi, East Germany’s brutal state security force. In thetradition of Frederick Taylor’s The Berlin Wall andPhilip Gourevitch’s WeWish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families, Funder’s Stasiland isa masterpiece of investigative reporting, written with novelistic vividness andthe compelling intensity of a universal, real-life story.
"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.