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Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin…

af Tim Mohr

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
899237,227 (3.89)7
"The history of how teenage East German punk rockers played an indispensable role in bringing down the Berlin Wall"--
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» Se også 7 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 9 (næste | vis alle)
Resist much, obey little. The anti-authoritarian, DIY ethos of punk played a crucial role in bringing down the Communist system in East Germany, and Mohr tells the story well. Thank goodness for drop-outs, freaks, and non-conformists of every flavor. ( )
  HectorSwell | Jun 9, 2021 |
I wish this was a more scholarly book, but I will admit I enjoyed it, learned a lot, and suspect that I will be returning to it at some point for band names and places. ( )
  janichkokov | Feb 3, 2021 |
I thought I knew the story of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, but this history of East German punk rock added a new dimension to my understanding of East German society in the 1980s. In some ways, the punks who emerged in East Germany were similar to those in the West - teenagers who felt as though they didn't fit into society, finding expression in a new form of music, and distinctive in their appearance. But, in East Germany being different wasn't tolerated and punks quickly became enemies of the state. This book is filled with fascinating details I hadn't encountered before - like that some people would show up to antigovernmental protests in hopes of being arrested and deported to the West - which merge with a story I know well. Overall, this is a book that changed how I view the fall of the Berlin Wall and the society which existed behind it for so many years - a society that at times felt eerily familiar. If you have an interest in Cold War history, this is definitely a good to pick up. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 23, 2021 |
This book was a treat for me. I was intrigued by the novel concept that punk culture contributed to the end of a divided Germany. This book delivered an exploration of various people involved with the East German punk scene, the ideologies they espoused, and the lasting artistic and social repercussions of their efforts. There were a lot of people flitting in and out of the overarching story, and at some points it was difficult to keep them straight, but as the narrative carried on and their roles in the resistance of the Stasi and the DDR were explained, it became easier to follow. The second half of the book was paced better than the first, and I do wish that it had delved a bit deeper into the grander political picture of the place and era, but I recognize that this book was about punks first and foremost, their ethos, their music, and their radical and democratic efforts to change their world. Prescient and important to read about. Mohr's tells a story of punks of the East German 80's reminds us that art matters, the youth can make a difference, and we can't "die in the waiting room of the future". ( )
  kferaco | Jul 19, 2020 |
Talk about youth against fascism!

This book is about how punk changed, both itself, its listeners, and mainly East Germany around the late 1970s up to the 1990s. It takes the reader on a journey of personal fulfillment through youth in a dictatorship, which is what East Germany was at the time. Honecker‘s Germany, along with Stasi, was merely a gentler version of super-fascist Nazi Germany, which fit the glove for precisely what punk counteracts.


From the book, which kind of sets the tone:

"The first song they put together was called “Überall wohin’s dich fährt,” or “Wherever You Go.” Lade wrote it.

Wherever you go
You’re asked for ID
If you say a false word
You know what happens next

It doesn’t matter where you look
Cameras are everywhere
Accompanying you step for step
“Security” always follows you
You speak your mind openly
And what will happen?
You can only hope
Something has to happen
Who wants to stand around passively? Were you really born
To be subordinate to it all?

"Observations like that were the sort of thing that got people sent to jail. The members of the band knew that. But as far as Pankow was concerned, this was the logical next step. He knew the country was fucked up and wanted to do something about it."

East Germany in the 1970s was a beast of its own; self-contained, censored, and highly punished by means of brutal paranoia due to how Stasi run, and how people turned into informants.

"One of the most momentous decisions in the history of the DDR was made in a matter of minutes on February 8, 1950, during a meeting of the as yet provisional People’s Council: the founding of a Ministry of State Security, or Ministerium für Staatssicherheit. The first few letters of the two constituent parts of the final word—Staat and Sicherheit—lent the ministry the name the world would come to know and dread: the Stasi. By the mid-1950s the Stasi already had 16,000 employees, more than Hitler’s Gestapo had employed in a unified Germany with five times as many inhabitants as East Germany; by 1952 the Stasi had also recruited 30,000 informants. Both of those numbers would continue to rise steeply.
Who can’t love and recognise a scene like this?"

"At the beginning of the school year in September 1977, Britta’s sister gave her a stack of photos and pullout posters she’d amassed from the precious West German teen magazines her father brought her—images of ABBA, Boney M, Smokie, the cheesy chart toppers and heartthrobs of the day. As Britta leafed through the images, she suddenly stopped at one. It was a black-and-white shot of a band called the Sex Pistols. What the **** is this, she wondered, fascinated by their ripped clothes and sneering faces."

If you’re wondering how draconian the Stasi methods of reasoning were, check this out as just a tiny example:

"East German punks had already perfected the art of confrontation. A few had even started to play with Nazi imagery—the ultimate taboo in a country explicitly founded on anti-Nazi ideology. Faced with ever more brutal treatment by the police, some punks wore yellow star patches, making reference to the patches the Nazis forced Jews to wear. Others wore red armbands with white crosses on them and the word chaos written in black on the cross, meant to make people look twice because of its similarity to the armbands worn by Hitler’s SA and SS. Then the authorities spotted some public graffiti they found particularly disturbing: ddr=kz, meaning East Germany = a concentration camp. A punk named Spion had spray-painted the slogan. He was the singer in a garage band called Ahnungslos, or Clueless. In the course of investigating the graffiti, the police also found drafts of Spion’s song lyrics, and he was thrown into prison for a year."

One of Tim Mohr’s good things as an author is his forté where it comes to merely place things simply, and let the reader dip into everything and discover things for ourselves. His style made me curious to read on, and I dig the way he unveiled the different main characters.

"On January 27, 1982, China, a punk who had been at Major’s trial back in 1981, was arrested, subjected to multiple strip searches and body cavity searches, and placed in pretrial detention for five weeks. The charge, according to the arrest warrant: she had distributed a total of twenty hand-typed statements saying, among other things, that she lived in a “mousetrap” where “no freedom of opinion existed.” The statements, it turned out, were from her diary. She was sixteen.
This book provides a lot of atmosphere, air, good writing—and is altogether a great reminder that, yes, revolution is possible whenever and wherever."

This book provides a lot of atmosphere, air, good writing—and is altogether a great reminder that, yes, revolution is possible whenever and wherever. ( )
  pivic | Mar 21, 2020 |
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"The history of how teenage East German punk rockers played an indispensable role in bringing down the Berlin Wall"--

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