Stasiland by Anna Funder
Personal Opinion: A wonderful book to read if you like “history” with a personal punch – part mystery story, part portrayal of a lost history by the proverbial “outsider”, but above all lyrical, readable and eminently accessible and not in the least bit “dry”.
But … in the 11 years since its original publication, perhaps its “creative-non-fiction” is open to a more critical reception than in 2002. An examination of its reception in Germany needs careful mention, as there were two-sides to “The Wall”. See below … if you chose to!
Contemporary Response to Recent “Wall” Changes: 28 March 2013 Google News
Key Ideas Map for Stasiland: http://learnink.info/stasi2013/Stasiland.html
Literary merit ? An emphatic “Yes”, but “history with a journalistic licence”? “Yes”, and selective in its source material, heroically unbalanced with a clear moral direction. This is Anna Funder’s “history of Stasliland”, with all the excesses of the totalitarian regime revealed through the “mirror and window” of her narration, peopled by previously unrecorded oral histories of both victims and perpetrators, who Funder allows (with some tact and subtlety) to tell their own stories (through her own search for understanding).
A list of web sites means very little! It’s only a beginning and choosing the right sites to read and follow through on can be difficult. Choose well and you gain, choose badly and you spend some time wondering why you came here! Look at the links; they are in alphabetical order, but also look at the sites in terms of what they might indicate, i.e. Book Reviews, Historical or Geographical Background, Educational Sites, School Sites, VCE sites, YouTube, MP3, Interviews with Authors, etc.
All can be very useful but much depends on you and you interest(s) and how far you want to take your research.
If you have read the book, make sure that your take notes on each chapter, and then use the links to build you knowledge and vocabulary. Keep noting … there are no shortcuts!