1st Edition

Walls That Remain
Eastern and Western Germans Since Reunification

ISBN 9781594513794
Published February 15, 2007 by Routledge
320 Pages

USD $240.00

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Book Description

The Walls That Remain explores the trauma of German reunification in 1990 as it affected ordinary Eastern and Western Germans. Told mainly in their own words, this book features the voices of those Germans who have suffered as well as profited from the transformations in German society since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Germany's reunification in October 1990.


“This book is a truly impressive work. It is beautifully conceived and executed, as well as intellectually and morally engaging. Above all, it is so very well-written with a lively style, a tempered wit, a remarkable literary and historical erudition, and a refreshing human empathy. The portraits are robust and dominant. I could swear that some of Rodden’s conversation partners have crossed my path over the years, under different names to be sure.”
—Christian Soe, California State University at Long Beach

“This book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the functioning of dictatorship as well as to the general processes of social change. I am most impressed by the beautiful essayistic style and sovereign command of German conversational language and everyday slang. This is an excellent book that will be of great value to the scholar and general reader alike.”
—Karl-Heinz Fuessl, Institute for Education and History, Humboldt University, Berlin

“One of the most appealing features of the book is Rodden’s lively, witty, and forceful writing style. This style is thoroughly compatible with the book’s sound scholarship, because it serves to highlight his basic themes by giving dramatic power to various anecdotes, personal encounters, and historical scenes. Most engaging is Rodden’s very personal viewpoint in his portraits of the East Germans that he interviewed. His vignettes show vividly the fateful determination of German lives by history, and the poignant, sometimes humorous tone brings his nuanced yet sympathetic American perspective into the foreground, often mitigating the gloom and endowing the tragedy with promise and hope.”
—Walter Sokel, University of Virginia

“This stimulating book is written with grace. It is a fascinating portrait gallery of GDR life. I was particularly intrigued with the latter material given my extensive contact with GDR citizens from 1988 on.”
—Randall Bytwerk, Calvin College

“I have been most impressed by Rodden’s scholarly expertise, profound philosophical grasp, and power of verbal and intellectual expression. His book is fascinating, sometimes even thrilling to read, and it addresses a public far beyond academic specialists. It is accessible to the general reader and deserves the widest possible audience. He has an unusual stance that is both sympathetic and critical at the same time, and it facilitates his penetrating understanding of the essential purposes and aspirations of GDR education and cultural politics. I say all this as a man who himself lived through most of the history of GDR educational and cultural politics, first as a supporter of the regime and then, beginning in the mid-1980s, increasingly in opposition to the dictatorship—and who experienced the events of 1989–1990 as a personal and intellectual liberation from an ideological straitjacket. I can, therefore, on the basis of my own intimate knowledge of that history, evaluate with great confidence the outstanding achievement of this book as a work of scholarship and human empathy.”
—Wolfgang Strauss, University of Jena