Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 1.99

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall [Paperback]

Anna Funder
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.15  
Paperback 6.99  
Paperback, 17 Jun 2004 --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 16.60 or Free with 30-day free trial

Book Description

17 Jun 2004
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their countrymen and women, there are a thousand stories just waiting to get out. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany - she meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III, visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall and gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the East, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist".

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (17 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862076553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862076556
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Anna Funder's penetrating and dispassionate Stasiland really begins with one significant date: the year 1989. The Berlin Wall falls and the history of a country that had become a microcosm of the Cold War is changed irrevocably. With the hated symbol of the enforced division between East and West reduced to rubble, the two Germanys--East and West--are able to reunite; grey, depressed East Germany becomes a memory.

After the initial euphoria, the change was hard for the world to accept, but it was both exhilarating and unsettling for the denizens of the Soviet bloc state, who had lived under the brutal, paranoid regime of the secret police, the dreaded Stasi of the title. For the inhabitants of East Germany, there were some stark statistics: one in 50 East Germans had informed on a fellow citizen, and human beings behaved in fashions unthinkable just the space of a wall away.

The amazing stories that Anna Funder tells in Stasiland bring to life with extraordinary vividness both the dark and the more human sides of life in the former East Germany: a young girl who could have started World War III, the man who laid down the line that became the Wall. These and a hundred other tales (from both the recent past and the present, as Berlin still struggles with the legacy of history) make for a highly unusual book, the final effect of which is as life-affirming and positive as the destruction of the Wall must have been for those who watched. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


' a terrific act of life-giving to people who have lacked not just a voice but an audience’ -- Telegraph

‘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’ -- Travel Books of the Year, Sunday Times

‘Brilliantly illustrates the weird, horrifying, viciously cruel place that was Cold War East Germany...' -- Evening Standard

‘Funder is a superb interviewer…she truly excels in the rendering of her sessions with former Stasi employees -- Sunday Times

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ordinary, contemporary decency 27 Nov 2009
Some of the reviews written above complain or find fault with Ms. Funders interjections or opinions during the course of her conversations with the people she meets yet I believe this adds very much to the charm and integrity of her account. She is reacting to the stories of people who lived under a regime that would have seemed incomprehensible to a girl born on the other side of the world (Australia, 1966) when the Wall had already been in existence for five years. It could have been something happening on another planet. It is significant, I think, that Ms. Funders never actually saw the Wall. It was gone by the time she got to Berlin. But the legacy of the Wall lived on in the damage it had done to the people imprisoned behind it and this is what her book is about. It is not a scholarly work with footnotes, nor is it a series of interviews conducted in English with an (unacknowledged) interpreter doing the donkey work which is what we have come to expect from our television superstars. This is not Gitta Sereny interviewing concentration camp commanders, nor even Hannah Arendt commenting on the 'banality of evil' as she witnesses the trial of Adolf Eichmann. No, this is a very different thing altogether. This is a young Australian woman of Danish descent (she thought that was close enough to "pass" as German, but it turned out it wasn't) who decided to study German as a kid to the bewilderment of her family. She liked the weird agglomerations of the language that made nuanced new words. She goes to Berlin and starts to meet people who lived under the DDR regime, already 7 years defunct by the time she gets there. That's where the stories come from. So she's judgemental. Why not? She can hardly believe what she is hearing. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History as a novel 26 Aug 2003
I read this book in order to help me gain a knowledge of life in Cold War East Germany. The book is a fascinating insight into the way the Stasi (State Secret police) affected everyone's lives. Citizens were manipulated into helping the Stasi, but it had many willing members too. The book follows the author as she meets those who have been affected by the Stasi. One woman's husband was taken away and presumably murdered for seemingly acting against the state and there are examples of those who were high-powered members of the Stasi who found it difficult to adjust following the Wall's collapse. Definitely recommended as the book is fascinating, though to be honest I didn't find it that useful as a history resource. An interesting read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Investigative journalism and lyrical writing 24 Jun 2004
By A Customer
The former GDR is perhaps still to close to be history, and there doesn't seem to be many books out there on the subject. Anna Funder's "Stasiland" fills that gap, and does so beautifully. She evokes a lost country, where the grotesquely overfed intelligence service had spilled out into all areas of society. In the end, Stasi controlled - and in many cases ruined - the lives of just about everyone in the GDR.
The first chapter paints a brilliant (and rather funny!) picture of the dark absurdity of a dictatorship. It is amazing how bogged down in detail, how ridiculously self-important it became. The fake moustaches, the cameras hidden in flowery granny handbags seem to come straight of "The Avengers". But soon, the tone turns sombre, as we begin to grasp how this "rule of Marxisten-Senilisten" drained joy and choice out of people's life. I had to keep reminding myself that this is fact, not fiction, as the drama and poignancy builds like a novel.
The whole account is deeply personal. Funder alternates the analysis of her investigations with descriptions of her own film noir-ish life in Berliner pubs and stripped apartments. It appears that she combines her exploratory drive with great poetry and a real knack for story-telling: her language is always lyrical and atmospheric, creating a real sense of time and place. Bridging the gap between story-telling and journalism, Anna Funder has written a unique and beautiful book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise, Poor Execution 10 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A few years ago I saw 'Goodbye Lenin!' and was fascinated by the idea of life in the GDR. This was further cemented by seeing 'The Lives of Others', so I chose this book hoping for some greater insight to life in East Germany during this time. Sadly, this book disappointed on many levels.

Anna Funder is an Australian who lived and worked in East Berlin some six or so years after the Wall fell.
She used this times as an opportunity to interview Ex-Stasi members and their victims in order to understand their lives, and bring out the truth that the West apparently wanted to ignore. The stories she uncovers are by turns shocking and affecting, and the bravery of some of those people is truly humbling.

However, these stories are set against some very contrived writing about clouds, drunkards, and her 'feelings'. One gets the feeling Funder tries to imbue the mundane with a sense of divinity and purpose that does not really exist. She does, as previous reviewers state, talk far too much about herself, the condition of her lino flooring, and other such trivial observations, you wonder what other more interesting stories were lost in editing so we could hear Funders' rambling.

All in all I think the people in this book could have been served better . Their stories are astonishing, and I feel Funder would have made a better book had she listened more, analyzed a little less, and stopped obsessing over linoleum.

(Readers who seek to know more about life under a repressive Socialist regime would be better off reading 'Nothing to Envy' by Barbara Demick.)
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very well written stories, eyeopener
Published 22 days ago by Katja Welton
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sobering Read
This is a very sobering book detailing the real life experiences of East Germans behind the Berlin Wall. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Neilybags
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book!
East Germany was perhaps the most hard line member of the communist block, as well as the most absurd. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Nathaniel Dean James
3.0 out of 5 stars Saves the best for first....
There are some truly compelling, horrifyingly fascinating and almost surreal episodes in here which make this book well worth reading (possibly even "necessary" reading for... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Doyen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
Wow, I had no idea what went on in the GDR & this book makes me want to find out more. Really easy to read but tragic.
Published 1 month ago by Cheekyboots
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Read this book once - my daughter's copy - and found it compelling. Will never tire of reading it! Brilliant!
Published 2 months ago by Lin Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and shocking
I read Stasiland because I'm going to Berlin this week and wanted to know more about what I would see. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jen Balchin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I bought this on kindle wanting to learn more about how life used to be for those on the East of Berlin. Read more
Published 3 months ago by sophie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into life behind 'the wall'
As a 'cold war' soldier, I was curious to know what life was like behind the wall during the 80's - a chilling look at life where you don't know who is watching who.
Published 3 months ago by James Toms
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the wall
Well written and fascinating story. This book was one of three chosen by my local book club for this month. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lesley Morgan
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category