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Stasi: The Untold Story Of The East German Secret Police

Stasi: The Untold Story Of The East German Secret Police [Kindle Edition]

John O Koehler
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In this gripping narrative, John Koehler details the widespread activities of East Germany’s Ministry for State Security, or “Stasi.” The Stasi, which infiltrated every walk of East German life, suppressed political opposition, and caused the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of citizens, proved to be one of the most powerful secret police and espionage services in the world. Koehler methodically reviews the Stasi’s activities within East Germany and overseas, including its programs for internal repression, international espionage, terrorism and terrorist training, art theft, and special operations in Latin America and Africa.Koehler was both Berlin bureau chief of the Associated Press during the height of the Cold War and a U.S. Army Intelligence officer. His insider’s account is based on primary sources, such as U.S. intelligence files, Stasi documents made available only to the author, and extensive interviews with victims of political oppression, former Stasi officers, and West German government officials. Drawing from these sources, Koehler recounts tales that rival the most outlandish Hollywood spy thriller and, at the same time, offers the definitive contribution to our understanding of this still largely unwritten aspect of the history of the Cold War and modern Germany.

From the Author

Exposing a brutal communist East German secret police
When the Berlin Wall crumbled on November 9, 1989, I was determined to write a detailed account of communist East German's secret police, the Stasi, which since the end of World War II had ruthlessly oppressed 17 million citizens, hundreds of thousands of whom were imprisoned under inhuman conditions. Thus, I flew to Berlin the next day to begin my research by renewing contacts I had made while serving as Berlin bureau chief of the Associated Press during the height of the Cold War and while serving as a U.S.Army intelligence officer. During the following eight years I interviewed hundreds of victims, Stasi officers who had defected, and I sifted through thousands of Stasi and western intelligence documents. Besides unearthing crimes against humanity, I was able to probe Stasi espionage against West Germany, the United States and NATO, aiding international terrorism, collaboration with the Soviet KGB and Stasi activities in Third World countries in support of the Soviet Union's quest for communist world domination. Three years ago, one of my best sources, a Stasi colonel who had defected, died under mysterious circumstances shortly before he was to testify for the prosecution in the trial of alleged terrorists charged with the bombing of a Berlin discotheque in which three persons, including two American GIs, were killed and more than 200 injured. Murder? German justice officials and a former Stasi colonel, who was close to the victim, believe it was. Why did I write this book? I felt strongly that the reign of a ruthless cabal of communist ideologues needed to be exposed to the world. I believed that I owed this to all the victims of totalitarianism. Simon Wiesenthal, the noted Nazi hunter, told me that if one leaves out the slaughter of jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other human beings that the Nazis had classified as "Untermenschen", subhumans, the Stasi was worse toward its fellow citizens than the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet KGB combined.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4627 KB
  • Print Length: 484 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0813337445
  • Publisher: Basic Books (5 Aug 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009W6VAZ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207,985 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment,shallow and subjective. 25 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This author misses a real opportunity with this topic. There is a lot of good source material here,but the book is spoilt by the authors subjective views and clear bias.The chapter on Chile is just one example of the unreconstructured cold-war rhetoric which spoils the book.There is a well reseached book to be written on this important issue;unfortunately this is not it.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak and poorly thought out 27 April 2008
What should have been a fascinating book is ruined by a massively simplistic, yet all-pervasive, 'USA = Great, Commies = Bad' black-and-white mentality. If you're looking for insights into Communist East Germany I would recommend Anna Funder's Stasiland and Timothy Garton Ash's The File instead: these two books, by literate and intelligent writers, are everything this book is not.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An addictive read 23 July 2008
By Paul
I bought this book a few years ago and took it away on holiday with me. After the first few pages i could not put it down. Every opportunity i had for any reading, i was at this book.

Having long been fascinated by anything concerning the DDR and a regular listener to RBI until its final closedown in 1989, i have now actually been able not only to visit places mentioned within this book such as the Stasi HQ in Berlin, but also meet people who grew up in the East.

You have to keep a very open mind when reading this book and make your own judgement, recognising that whilst the DDR had its own propaganda machine, so too did the West (and still does to this day). But the extremities which the Stasi went to and methods employed ranged from the obscure to total paranoia.

A fascinating and very addictive read.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Right-wing crusader's rant 16 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just got to page 4. Already the Eastern Block is backed by the armed might of the Soviet Union, but West Germany is protected by the shield of the USA and its NATO allies. Oh, and West Germany is a modern economically powerful democracy governed by the rule of law, but the other Germany is wallowing in a morass of Government-sponsored crimes.
Written by a bloke who was adviser to Reagan's Press Secretary, do not expect an objective assessment of the role of the Stasi. Read Markus Wolf's book too, then make your own mind up.
On we go.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Futility of the STASI 27 July 2014
Having read numerous books on the KGB and STASI and other 'Eastern Block' intelligence services operating against the West during the Cold War, it always surprises me that we are not now bowed under the Hammer and Sickle. All that time and effort by these people came to nothing! How disappointing and distressed they, who are still alive, must feel. Being British I laugh at the, what now appear to be childish, idiotic exploits of people like the 'Cambridge Five' that is Philby, Burgess and McClean, Blunt and Cairncross. I just wish they all could have lived to witness the futility of their efforts.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Objective? Not in any way imaginable! 29 Jan 2005
If this author had not declared himself to be A) American and B) a former US Army intelligence officer, we would have had a fair idea of those facts after reading this. Placing himself somewhere on the right of the most rabid neo-conservative, the author does both the subject and the access to print grave injustices. The common thread throughout the book is that of the crusade against Communism, Socialism and basically anything that doesn't run with the American ideal. It is no coincidence that the 5 star reviews of this book come from across the pond! The increasing access to both SED and Stasi files blows a lot of the material in this book well and truly out of the water. There are so many good books on the subject of the former German Democratic Republic and its many security organs - unfortunately this cannot be counted as one of them.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor and subjective book 17 May 2000
By A Customer
The author seems to concentrate himself in a anti-communist struggle rather than providing the reader with good unbiased information and letting to the reader any eventual conclusions to be taken. Although the author seems to have no historician skills - being his technique much improvable - every word he writes down is a complete subjective view that makes the book worth only as a secondary source if the reader wants to figure out how that time was. I found it in no way dissapointing... as long as the reader does not expect a serious analysis or objective and documented conclusions from the book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Squandered opportunity 27 Feb 2007
There is much that is interesting in this book, but the tone and bias of the author squander his privileged access - a wire journalist, former US intelligence officer and Reagan advisor writing on this subject - beyond the obvious irony - could make for compelling reading if Koehler could take a step back. Sadly he can't. Ideologues don't necessarily write bad history - Richard Pipes's books on late Russian Imperial and Soviet History are brilliantly distilled and argued - even if I personally find his politics abhorrent. Sadly Koehler lacks the rigour. One doesn't have to be a communist apologist to find his approach lacking insight, and the word 'freedom' used here sound sadly ironic given how Koehler's various employers have so abused it...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent narrative, lacking analysis
Good books on the Stasi are few and far between. Scrub that, any English books on this subject are as rare as a Stasi agent with compassion. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. E. Gilchrist
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Police
This was a present for my husband.

He said it was very informative and also very harrowing.

Almost unbelievable. But these are things we did not know.
Published 4 months ago by sooty14
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stasi..
Ive only just read thought the first few pages and already its confirmed how ruthless they were .. very well written
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Steven Drake
1.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda anti-communist
Pure waste of a mercenary anticommunist of Associated Press, a CIA disinformation agency. Why not talk about the murders of the CIA, Mossad, British MI6? Read more
Published 12 months ago by Javier
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable and biased
I have been aiming to buy this book for a long time, I bought it at Kinokuniya. My aim was to understand the Democratic Germany experience in depth. Read more
Published on 30 April 2009 by Ogun Eratalay
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in depth insight of life in Socialist East Germany
Great book giving a detailed insight into life of ordinary East Germans under the rule of socialist Eric Honecker.
Published on 23 Nov 2008 by tzmoggie
5.0 out of 5 stars Stasi: an excellent book
Do not be fooled by other reviews of this book; it is a superb and enjoyable read, and by far one of the most entertaining reads of the subject that I have read. Read more
Published on 24 May 2008 by Ricky Brooks
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