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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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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300144246
ISBN-10: 0300144245
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 21mm)
Pages: 378
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 19-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Mary Fulbrook

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

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