Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

 

Read by Danika Fairman

Description: In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited and East Germany ceased to exist. In this book, Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany, including the story of Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III.

Read her two books the wrong way around. This non-fiction is superbly written, and she really does have stories that need relating to help us understand DDR because let’s face it, no matter how many time the history is read the subject remains hard to get one’s head around.

DDR was a paranoid place and awful things happened to ordinary people and Funder has pinned the subject matter smack, bang to the , erm, wall.

I mentioned that I read her books the wrong way around – ‘All that I Am’, a novel based on factual events, did not resound so well, maybe I am just a non-fiction kind of girl at heart.

Astounding read worth five checkpoint-charlies even though there are some flaws.

Surfy Googling yields some interesting piccies:

Alexanderplatz. We stayed in the Hotel up those stairs on the left, and that square was full of Christmas market. How it looks today:

Authoritarian Sociopathy: Toward a Renegade Psychological Experiment by Davi Barker

bookshelves: essays, nonfiction, summer-2014, fraudio, anarchy, psychology, boo-scary, bullies, casual-violence, games-people-play, gardening, gulp, how-to, lifestyles-deathstyles, mental-health, ouch, politics, published-2014, rid-the-world-of-tyrants, totalitarian

Read from July 14 to 21, 2014

 

Description: Numerous studies have shown us that those given authority are more likely to lie, cheat and steal, while also being harsher in their judgments of others for doing these same things. Science tells us people with power feel less compassion for the suffering of others.

Previous experiments also show us that those who are obedient to authority are capable of the worst forms of murder, and tolerant of the worst forms of abuse. They will even chastise those of us who resist corrupt authority. They become facilitators of evil, believing that obedience to authority absolves them of personal responsibility.

This is the fifth draft of a renegade psychological experiment on authoritarian sociopathy, specifically on police brutality. We aim to show the world beyond a shadow of a doubt, that power corrupts absolutely, and corrupt authority deserves no obedience.

Interesting front about plagiarism being about love, and who wants love policed. Hmmm

Stamford experiment just got worse
Milgram experiment
– Government has the monopoly of violence in a designated area

Nothing new here, really. Refresh yourselves with the videos linked to above so you don’t forget how we can all act like either laboratory rats or merciless tyrants.

Just the two hazard signs as rating

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle, Metaphysics

In Search of Staszewski by Kenneth Fedzin

bookshelves: e-book, net-galley, published-2014, nonfiction, holocaust-genocide, wwii, biography, poland, history, families, yorkshire, ukraine, true-grime, totalitarian, slavic, rid-the-world-of-tyrants, ouch, gulp, gangsters, execution, casual-violence

Read from May 02 to 03, 2014


Netgalley and Troubador Publishing Ltd/Matador

Description: “However horrible the past may have been, forgetting it would make the future even worse.”
International Historical-Enlightenment Human Rights and Humanitarian Society Memorial, Moscow.

Set around the time of the 1863 Uprising and World War II, In Search of Staszewski is a powerful and moving real life account of a Polish family’s six-year ordeal and fight for survival under Soviet Oppression.

Focusing on a family that were victims of Tsarist Russia’s oppression, the book also investigates Stalin’s brutal regime and the dreaded Gulag system where, in addition to millions of Russian citizens, hundreds of thousands of innocent Poles died as a result. Some survived and escaped the Soviet ‘paradise’, going on to fight courageously alongside allied forces during World War II.

Investigated and told by the son of a survivor, who only learned the truth after the sudden death of his father, two strands of detailed investigation are woven into an emotional journey of discovery, uncovering the shocking details his father was so reluctant to speak about. In Search of Staszewski is not only the story of a fight for survival by four generations of one family, but also of a people’s struggle to preserve their cultural and national identity in the face of powerful neighbours.

Inspired by authors such as Norman Davies, Orlando Figes, and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum,In Search of Staszewski uncovers the truth surrounding a little known and largely untold episode of World War II history that will surprise and shock fans of historical and biographical non-fiction works.

Dedication: In memory of my father, Jan Fedzin

Extract from the preface: The terrible human suffering perpetrated on six million Jews in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War is well documented and well understood throughout the world. This chapter of history has been covered in great depth by historians, students and film makers. However, the suffering of an estimated 1.7 million people ‘unfortunate’ enough to be forcibly removed by the Soviets from their homes in Poland to labour camps in Siberia during World War Two is not so well known.

This opens with a young lad riding on the crossbar of his father’s bike and the setting is the Heavy Wool manufacturing town of Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

This Fedzin family history is unravelled with such a quiet and modest tone it reminded me of the horrors behind the opening track of Amused to Death: Ballad for Bill Hubbard. As each page rolls past the horrors escalate and makes for a gruelling read; I think that using the dead bodies to fuel the locomotive on its way to Archangel will stay with me forever. And what about those Ukrainian Nationalists, that too was a horrible eye-opener.

It would be an insult to all those who were murdered, maimed or disposessed but especially to Kenneth Fedzin and his family, to trivialise this book with a rating. Thank you for sharing, Mr Fedzin.

Monument to the Fallen in the East

Kolyma Highway. Gold fields were discovered far from the port of Magadan in a region inhabited only by nomads

The Golden Kolyma. The adjective “golden” in the painting’s title is derived from the larch tree, which is ubiquitous in the region

The Chelbania gold mine in Kolyma, 1943. CREDIT: Tomasz Kizny

Kolyma Summer. The most difficult to reach gold deposits were in the extreme climate of the Indigirka permafrost regions.

See more of Getman’s work in Art of the Gulag

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

bookshelves: fraudio, lifestyles-deathstyles, nonfiction, spring-2014, published-2012, cold-war, slavic, tbr-busting-2014, totalitarian, military-maneuvers, newtome-author, history, bullies, casual-violence, gangsters, recreational-homicide, rid-the-world-of-tyrants

Read from March 02 to 04, 2014

 

rosado mp3

Description: At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union to its surprise and delight found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to Communism, a completely new political and moral system. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. She draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devastating detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated. Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of Iron Curtain.

Cassandra Campbell reads

I encounter this as a salute to Ukraine.

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”― Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays

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