The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker

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9780300108842: The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker
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What was life really like for East Germans, effectively imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain? The headline stories of Cold War spies and surveillance by the secret police, of political repression and corruption, do not tell the whole story. After the unification of Germany in 1990 many East Germans remembered their lives as interesting, varied, and full of educational, career, and leisure opportunities: in many ways perfectly ordinary lives.”

Using the rich resources of the newly-opened GDR archives, Mary Fulbrook investigates these conflicting narratives. She explores the transformation of East German society from the ruins of Hitler’s Third Reich to a modernizing industrial state. She examines changing conceptions of normality within an authoritarian political system, and provides extraordinary insights into the ways in which individuals perceived their rights and actively sought to shape their own lives.

Replacing the simplistic black-and-white concept of totalitarianism” by the notion of a participatory dictatorship,” this book seeks to reinstate the East German people as actors in their own history.

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About the Author:

MARY FULBROOK is professor of German history at University College London. Among her books is the best-selling A Concise History of Germany.

Review:

"'... a fresh, flowing, thoughtful account... an immensely readable book... Above all, this empathetic account puts East Germans back into their own history. As such, it will surely act not only as a standard work on GDR society, but also as a model for the emerging social history of post-war Europe.' Josie McLellan, Reviews in History / History in Focus 'One does applaud Mary Fulbrook for writing a book that is extremely rich in detail and one that is certainly different from other works on the German Democratic Republic. It provides an excellent framework for further debate on the pros and cons of the first socialist experiment on German soil.' Peter Hylarides, Contemporary Review"

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9780300144246: The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker

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ISBN 10:  0300144245 ISBN 13:  9780300144246
Publisher: Yale University Press, 2008
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