Beyond the Wall

Beyond the Wall

East Germany, 1949-1990


Brought to you by Penguin.

The definitive new history of East Germany by an acclaimed historian

In 1990, a country disappeared. For the previous forty-one years, East Germany had existed in Western minds as more of a metaphor than a place, more of a grey communist blur than a land of real people with friends and families, workplaces and homes. As Germany once again became a single state, the history of the GDR was simplified and politicised. It was nothing but Stasi spies and central planning, nothing but a wall in Berlin.

In Beyond the Wall, acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer looks past these outdated conceptions and toward a more comprehensive history, one that acknowledges border guards, secret police and brutal repression, as well as comprehensive welfare, unprecedented gender equality, and the deconstruction of class privilege. There were those who were silenced, she argues, and also those who felt they had been given a voice for the first time. Both deserve to be heard today.

Based on first-hand accounts and extensive new research, Hoyer presents the history of the GDR as never before -- as a kaleidoscope of perspectives, experiences and stories. From the ashes of the Second World War to the fall of the USSR, this is the definitive story of the other Germany, the one beyond the Wall.

©2023 Katja Hoyer (P)2023 Penguin Audio

About the author

Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer is a German-British historian, journalist and the author of the widely acclaimed Blood and Iron. A visiting Research Fellow at King's College London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she is a columnist for the Washington Post and hosts the podcast The New Germany together with Oliver Moody. She was born in East Germany and is now based in the UK.
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