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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps. Spine is loose
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The Baader-Meinhof Group. The Inside Story Of A Phenomenon Hardcover – Import, 1987

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 584 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head; First UK Edition edition (1987)
  • Language: English, German
  • ISBN-10: 0370310314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370310312
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,448,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on November 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
STEFAN AUST's 1985 meisterwerk is the only truly accurate account of the activities of Germany's Red Army Faction, the ultra-lefist terrorist group which was the cause of much murder and mayhem in the 1970s. Aust knew many members of the gang personally, and this knowledge, backed by extensive interviews with former RAF members and prisoners, only makes an already comprehensive work stronger. There really isn't a single fault with this book: it's well-written, clearly presented, accurate and unbiased. Unlike other works on the RAF Aust neither glamourises or demonises his subjects. He gives you the facts and lets you make your own conclusions. Nowhere is this more so than the chapters on 'the German Autumn', the chaotic 43 days that saw the kidnapping of a leading industrialist and the hijacking of a Lufthansa jet airliner in order to get the RAF high command out of jail; both attempts failed and the gang's leaders - Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe - all died in suspicious circumstances at the prison of Stuttgart-Stammheim. Aust, through superb documentary evidence, proves that the gang did indeed kill themselves. That is the major triumph of this book - it lays to rest the myth that the trio were murdered by the state. This book is superb.
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By A Customer on February 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's true that this is a very, very thorough account of the B-M Group's activities. Sometimes the details are a little much (like a breakdown of Baader and Ensslin's monthly spending in early '71) and yet their accumulation provides for a fascinating glimpse inside the lives of the Group. Since this is a translation, it is difficult to say if it is the writing or the translation that is so wooden and choppy.
I have two major criticisms of the book: the first is its leaps in chronology. Sometimes Aust skips months and years to follow a thread through to its end, and this often creates confusion as to what happened when. While it's clear that he does this to illustrate a point or follow someone's involvement, it was confusing as often as not.
The second criticism, and a major failing for me, is that Aust fails to provide much of any kind of context for the time. We are given next to no background on the social or political or economic climate in which the Group operated. At first this seems to tilt the book in the Group's favor (as does the choice of photographs, all of which are of members of the Group or their supporters and none of which feature their victims), since everyting is told from their viewpoint. But this lapse shifts towards condemning the Group, since we never get a feel for what they were fighting against and why or how it could have seemed so important to commit themselves to violence. Aust ends the book with: "They were seven years that changed West Germany." But you would never know that from the book, as there is virtually no account of how the public at large responded to the Group.
A minor note is how startling it is to find out for the first time, on page 100, that Aust knew some of the Group and that he assisted in the kidnapping/rescue of Meinhoff's children. A little disclosure at the beginning seems only fair.
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