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Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198207207
ISBN-10: 0198207204
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  • Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"This is one of the best-written and most accessible books on the GDR."--German Studies Review


"...Readers are richly compensated by the creative insights Fulbrook teases out in her comparative analysis of the exercise of power, popular acquiescence, and opposition in the different phases of the regime. This sophisticated, elegantly written book deserves the widest audience from specialists to general readers."--HISTORY


"...Fulbrook's broadly interpretative approach demonstrates real sophistication in analyzing patterns of domination, complicity, and dissent over the four decades of the GDR's existence as a separate German state."--Political Science Quarterly


"[Fullbrook's] study is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the former GDR, especially since it is among the first books written in English that make use of new archival sources. Her account is noteworthy as much for its balanced judgment as for its secure grounding in primary and secondary sources...a highly valuable book."--American Political Science Review


About the Author

Mary Fulbrook is Professor of German History at University College, London.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Oxford History of England (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198207204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198207207
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mary Fulbrook has done an excellent job in writing a concise analysis of the GDR in plain English. The book is very well researched and Professor Fulbrook has a clear and compassionate understanding of her subject. Her thesis that the GDR can be best classified as a dictatorship is convincing and well argued.
I am myself researching the role of the Protestant Church in the GDR, and was pleased to find a chapter in Fulbrook's book devoted to this subject. Western scholars have a record of embarassing themselves (out of ignorance) on topics such as this, but Fulbrook does an outstanding job.
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Format: Paperback
As other reviews point out, this is a very detailed history of the GDR that shows a
great deal of research. The author's writing style needed a good editor, I think, to
eliminate some of the long, non-essential "sleep inducing" sentences, such as:
"Bearing this wider context in mind, let us proceed to examine in more detail the role
of different domestic political currents in the unfolding story of the demise of the GDR."
There are too many sentences of that kind for me - introductory sentences such as "Let
us now examine the..." etc. I'm glad that I read the book, though. I borrowed it from the
library.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Fulbrook has done an excellent job in succinctly analysing the political system of the GDR, arguing that the former East Germany state is best classified as a "dictatorship". Her writing is easily understood by non-specialists and her compassion and attention to detail heightens the reader's interest in this fascinating subject. The book is excellently researched, with Professor Fulbrook combing the now open East German State and Party archives to present new material alongside her central thesis. Her insightful chapter on the role of the Church is especially welcome, since this subject has long been recognised by German scholars as of central importance, but is too often neglected or misunderstood by non-Germans academics. "Anatomy" is clearly the best book to recently appear on the "first socialist state on German soil".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book for those who'd like to get an incredibly detailed account of the history of the German Democratic Republic, from formation to fall, in incredible detail. For some, this may be a bit of a drawback, as it is less of a narrative than a factual accounting of events; the major players, their actions, their impact and the effects on the people who lived there.

Backed up by a great deal of research, it's an excellent text to at least get a strong foundational understanding of the structure and operations of one of the more tightly-run communist dictatorships of the 20th Century.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Fulbrook's review of the former East German state misses the point totally. It is too longwinded, bogged down in detail and fails to underline the major key principle, that the GDR was loved by over half of its population despite what the Western media would have us believe. Having spoken to former East German citizens, the book seems to be too concerned with the origins of the Soviet satellite state and doesn't address the issue that most East Germans were content with their state. In all, I found the book overpriced, badly researched and most disappointing.
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