STASILAND, hailed as a ‘masterpiece’ and a ‘classic’, won the UK’s most prestigious prize for non-fiction published in English, the Samuel Johnson (now Baillie Gifford Prize). An international bestseller, it has been published in 28 countries in many editions and languages, adapted for radio (including broadcast twice as BBC Book of the Week) and stage (including by The National Theatre, London). It is studied both as literature and history in schools and universities around the world.
East Germany may have been—until now— the most perfected surveillance state of all time. In STASILAND Anna enters, in “the most humane and sensitive way”, a surreal world of lies where telling the truth was a crime. There she finds extraordinary stories of ordinary people who heroically resisted the communist dictatorship, and of those who worked for its vicious secret police, the Stasi.
Anna meets Miriam, who as a sixteen-year-old was accused of trying to start World War III. She visits the regime’s cartographer, who as a young recruit drew a chalk line along the street where the Berlin Wall was to go. She gets drunk with a legendary rock god, the “Mik Jegger” of the Eastern Bloc, once declared by the authorities to “no longer to exist”. And Anna finds spies and Stasi men, in hiding but defiant, still loyal to the regime as they lick their wounds and regroup, hoping for the next revolution.
STASILAND is a brilliant, timeless portrait of a Kafkaesque world, as gripping as any thriller. In a world of total surveillance, its celebration of human conscience and courage is as potent as ever.
BUY the spectacular FOLIO edition, bound in cloth with a new introduction by the author and 24 pages of original colour photographs from Anna’s time writing the book—of Stasi men, people who resisted them and the broken glamour of 1990s Berlin.