The Firm

The Firm : The Inside Story of the Stasi

3.79 (78 ratings by Goodreads)
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Based on previously classified documents and on interviews with former secret police officers and ordinary citizens, The Firm is the first comprehensive history of East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, at the grassroots level. Focusing on Gransee and Perleberg, two East German districts located north of Berlin, Gary Bruce reveals how the Stasi monitored small-town East Germany. He paints an eminently human portrait of those involved with this repressive arm of the government, featuring interviews with former officers that uncover a wide array of personalities, from devoted ideologues to reluctant opportunists, most of whom talked frankly about East Germany's obsession with surveillance. Their paths after the collapse of Communism are gripping stories of resurrection and despair, of renewal and demise, of remorse and continued adherence to the movement. The book also sheds much light on the role of the informant, the Stasi's most important tool in these out-of-the-way areas. Providing on-the-ground empirical evidence of how the Stasi operated on a day-to-day basis with ordinary people, this remarkable volume offers an unparalleled picture of life in a totalitarian state.
"Brilliantly written and deeply researched, this is the best book in any language on East Germany's Stasi." -Robert Gellately, author of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe "This is surely the most detailed micro-analysis of the East German security service...In a rare step, Bruce actually interviews a number of former Stasi staff, weaving from his conversations telling portraits of 14 of them." -Foreign Affairs | "Brilliant, thoroughly researched, and highly readableenables readers to better understand how the Stasi operated in everyday life and how its inescapable presence affected citizens." -CHOICE "Bruce has done an admirable job of exploring the repressive nature of the East German state and the experience of normalcy in small towns where the watchers and watched lived side by side." -Oral History Review
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 12.7mm | 439.98g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9 b/w halftones, 3 maps
  • 0199896577
  • 9780199896578
  • 399,191

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. In the Service of the Firm: Full-Time Stasi Employees ; 2. The Candidate: Stasi Informants ; 3. In the Line of Sight: Stasi Operations Against Residents of Districts Gransee and Perleberg ; 4. The Stasi in Everyday Life ; 5. The Downfall ; Conclusion
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Review quote

The Firm is notable for its high level of knowledge of German research and excellent source material. Gary Bruce's book is one of the finest English-language works on the subject, offering an astute analysis of the Communist repressive apparatus in the post-Stalin era * The Journal of Cold War Studies *
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About Gary Bruce

Gary Bruce is Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo and author of Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955.
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Rating details

78 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 26% (20)
4 38% (30)
3 28% (22)
2 5% (4)
1 3% (2)
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