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Stasi The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police Hardcover – January 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press; First Edition edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813334098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813334097
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Mr. Koehler's book is very well written.
wwmarsh@ix.netcom.com
Some of Koehler's book is well-researched, which makes it particularly disappointing that he slanders his own research with such sloppy and unthinking analysis.
Eric Bryant
Buy this book, you definetely will not regret it (I suggest you buy two copies, one for reading, the other for highliting).
Dominic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Koehler provides a vivid picture of what made the DDR tick. He has deftly chronicled the intimate details of his interviews with former Stasi apparatchiks and victims of the Strasi's surveillance and intimidation. Koehler interprets the lurid details of East Germany's most sensitive government files which the Stasi never dreamed would be seen by western eyes.
It is clear from Koehler's book that much of the eastern bloc's demise, in particular the DDR's, was due to the enormous drain of hard currency assets and manpower required to support an intensive domestic and foreign intelligence network. Koehler also chronicles the obsessive "fraternal support" of Nicaragua by East German leader Erich Honecker during the 1980s which further drained the limited resources of the DDR.
It is fair to ask why it took Koehler nearly 10 years since the collapse of East Germany to complete his book. The Stasi documents which are the source for Koehler's research have been opened up in recent years to a limited number of journalists. In many cases, Koehler has an insiders account based on his exclusive access to recently released Stasi files. Koehler brings the best evidence yet of the Stasi's repression as he presents the facts of what it was like to have lived in the DDR more vividly than I have seen written anywhere else.
As a traveler to East Germany during the Cold War years and the months leading up to reunification, I would have enjoyed an additional chapter detailing the Stasi's surveillance of western visitors to the former DDR. I found this book to be the intensive study of the East German secret police that I had been waiting for.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The East German security and intelligence service is known to the world as the MfS, or STASI. Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Western historians and scholars have bemoaned the lack of books, in English, on the subject. The delays in publishing have not been for lack of interest, but rather a lack of knowledgeable authors. John Koehler's, "STASI", is the missing book and provides an outstanding contribution to the history of espionage, the Cold War, and the German people.
For more than eight years Koehler conducted detailed interviews with the original participants; a feat unheard of ten years ago. The result is an unparalleled "insider's look" at the scope of STASI intelligence and security operations. Koehler's background as a reporter and intelligence professional provide him with both an understanding of espionage and the ability to tell a compelling and interesting story.
The STASI operated as the "little brother" to the much larger Soviet "Committee for State Security", or KGB. It earned the KGB's complete respect through the total repression of the East German people at home, and the skilled intelligence operations of the HVA (the Main Administration of Foreign Intelligence) outside it's borders.
New details are presented about the pervasive infiltration of HVA operatives into West Germany's government, military, and industrial complex. The revelations of these infiltration's are so sensitive they still destabilized German politics after a decade. Other details reveal operations targeted against US forces and NATO including: the first penetration of U.S. Army intelligence by an East German spy as well as an expose of Americans selling our most sensitive defense secrets to the communists.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Stasi is an excellent study in constrasts and merits the attention of anyone interested in current affairs, terrorist studies, European history, political science and intelligence history. Since the author has met many of the people discussed in the book, it is a text loaded with anecdotes and details that many biographers or historians never get to probe. The author shares these singular observations with his readers.
The dark side is sad indeed. Koehler begins by exposing the feudal world of East German leftist radicals and how the Stasi organization emerged from thier international machinations. Erich Mielke, who became the Minister for State Security, built the Stasi into an unbelievable machine that promoted evil. In order to do this he became a feudal serf of the KGB, and a king in East Germany. Ultimately, he became a pill-popping addict despite his successful, shameful reign of terror. Under his tutelage, Stasi officers, most of whom had the barest rudimentary education, spied on their neighbors, bugged confessionals, and tortured countless German citizens. One citizen, Josef Kneifel, described his life under Mielke's world of concrete control as similar to that of a "dazed animal" while the "vassals of Moscow" worked overtime to destroy the lives, marriages, and occupations of numerous frightened East Germans.
Koehler contrasts the absolute despair of living under the Stasi against the dedication and committment of freedom-loving people to bring an end to the Stasi kingdom of cruely, ruthless power- mongering and paranoia. The agencies and individuals who sacrificed much to bring freedom and civility to life in the Stasi empire were understaffed and risked many dangers.
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