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The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany
Charles S. Maier

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1


"Charles Maier has composed an elegant essay, blending semi-philosophical speculations with personal memories of the 'dissolution' of East Germany. . . . His aim is to present the narrative of the last days of the GDR in as sweeping a framework as possible: not just of the general failure of Communism, but also as a reflection of a profound shift of late twentieth-century society, towards complexity."--Harold James, The Times Literary Supplement

"Maier strikes a much-needed blow against the growing Western German consensus that East Germany died a natural death."--Marc Fisher, Washington Post

"We are fortunate that a scholar of Maier's scope has disentangled the mass of fact, fear and pretense surrounding this unprecedented event, and has given thought to its implications."--Richard C. Hottelet, The New Leader

"Anybody wanting to know the real story of East Germany's flawed system and its anguished fall could do no better than read the volume by Charles Maier. . . . "--The Economist

"Dissolution is the best available one-volume account of East Germany's decline and fall. . . . Maier has written a historical synthesis of the economic crisis, popular unrest and diplomatic negotiations that disrupted and then destroyed East Germany and with staggering speed opened the way for its unification with the Federal Republic."--James J. Sheehan, The New York Times Book Review

"Like someone digging crumpled pieces of paper out of the wastepaper basket and straightening them out to try and decipher their contents, Maier picks the GDR, or rather its last months, out of the rubbish bin of Communism."--Christoph Bertram, London Review of Books

"Charles Maier's account of the transition from socialism to democracy in Germany is vastly more informative and insightful than any of the innumerable analyses of post-Communist `transition' now being published."--Tony Judt, The New York Review of Books

"A superb, subtly intelligent politico-historical analysis of the roles of Gorbachev's Soviet Union, East Germany, and West Germany (with the U.S. pulling the strings) in the demise of an era."--Nadine Gordimer [Nobel Prize Laureate], Financial Times

"A brilliant analysis of the process which he calls `dissolution.' Maier believes, and shows, that Communism self-destructed."--Ralf Dahrendorf, History Today


"Charles Maier is an historian whose writing talks both to political scientists and to lay readers no mean feat. Dissolution combines probing historical examination with disciplined and informed political analysis."--Richard H. Ullman, Princeton University

"Undoubtedly the most important survey of the GDR and its demise. Readers will find not only an engaging narrative of events but also coverage on broad topics ranging from an analysis of the 'old guard' to post-unification nostalgia. Throughout every facet of this book, we hear Maier's philosophically sophisticated 'voice' leading us through dilemmas created by values, economic realities, political clashes, and cultural ruptures."--Claudia Koonz, Duke University

"This is a beautifully written and insightful account of the collapse of the East German regime. It poses important general questions about inevitability and agency in history, and is especially good in analyzing the mood of the East German population itself. It is a wonderfully thoughtful book."--Paul M. Kennedy, Yale University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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