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Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990 (Hardback)Katja Hoyer (author)
From the author of Blood and Iron comes an admirably balanced and truly fascinating new history of East Germany, utilising both first-hand accounts and the latest research to paint a multi-layered picture of a vanished country.
Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2023
In 1990, a country disappeared. When the iron curtain fell, East Germany simply ceased to be. For over forty years, from the ruin of the Second World War to the cusp of a new millennium, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to anything that had come before, and anything that exists today. Socialist solidarity, secret police, central planning, barbed wire: this was a Germany forged on the fault lines of ideology and geopolitics.
In Beyond the Wall, acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer offers a kaleidoscopic new vision of this vanished country. Beginning with the bitter experience of German Marxists exiled by Hitler, she traces the arc of the state they would go on to create, first under the watchful eye of Stalin, and then in an increasingly distinctive German fashion. From the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, to the relative prosperity of the 1970s, and on to the creaking foundations of socialism in the mid-1980s, Hoyer argues that amid oppression and frequent hardship, East Germany was yet home to a rich political, social and cultural landscape, a place far more dynamic than the Cold War caricature often painted in the West.
Powerfully told, and drawing on a vast array of never-before-seen interviews, letters and records, this is the definitive history of the other Germany, the one beyond the Wall
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 760 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 52 mm
'With Beyond the Wall, Katja Hoyer confirms her place as one of the best young historians writing in English today. On the heels of her superb Blood and Iron, about the rise and fall of the Second Reich, comes another masterpiece, this one about the aftermath of the Third Reich in the East. Well-researched, well-written and profoundly insightful, it explodes many of the lazy Western cliches about East Germany.' -- Andrew Roberts
'Utterly brilliant. This gripping account of East Germany sheds new light on what for many of us remains an opaque chapter of history. Authoritative, lively and profoundly human, it is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand post-WW2 Europe.' - Julia Boyd
'Superb, totally fascinating and compelling, Katja Hoyer's first full history of East Germany's rise and fall is a work of revelatory original research - and a gripping read with a brilliant cast of characters. Essential reading.' - Simon Sebag Montefiore
'A beyond-brilliant new picture of the rise and fall of the East German state. Katja Hoyer gives us not only pin-sharp historical analysis, but an up-close and personal view of both key characters and ordinary citizens whose lives charted some of the darkest hours of the Cold War. If you thought you knew the history of East Germany, think again. An utterly riveting read.' - Julie Etchingham
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