Introduced by the author
Blending investigative journalism with the personal approach of a writer both fascinated and appalled by her subject, this is an award-winning portrait of life under ‘one of the most savage surveillance regimes ever known'. With previously unpublished photographs by the author.
‘Miriam Weber stands at the end of the platform, a small still woman in the stream of alighting passengers. She holds a single rose in front of her body so I will know who she is. We shake hands, not looking too closely at first. It feels like a blind date, because we have described ourselves to each other. I know she has not told her story to a stranger before.’
In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited and East Germany ceased to exist. Several years later, in 1996, Anna Funder, working for a TV station in what was formerly West Berlin, met Miriam Weber, who tried to climb over the Wall aged 16 and was caught. Miriam was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured; the Stasi came into her life and never let her go.
Miriam’s extraordinary story set Funder on a search for others whose lives had been blighted by the old regime: Frau Paul, whose baby boy was in hospital in West Berlin when the Wall was built, suddenly beyond reach; Klaus Renfit, the ‘bad boy’ of East German rock and roll; and, fascinating and chilling at the same time, the ex-Stasi men, still loyal to the Firm, still obsessed with – and proud of – the lives and the power they once had.
‘Stasiland demonstrates that great, original reporting is still possible. A heartbreaking, beautifully written book’
Skilfully interweaving historical detail with eyewitness testimony, Stasiland is a masterpiece of modern journalism, a powerful account of a brutal world that has become a contemporary classic. This edition was prepared in close collaboration with the author. As well as a new introduction exploring the book’s reception in Germany, she has provided previously unpublished photographs of the places and people featured in the book.
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