The File: A Personal History

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9780002558235: The File: A Personal History

In 1991, after the Wall came down and the archives of Eastern Europe opened up, Timothy Garton Ash walked into the building that housed the files of the Stasi, the infamous East German secret police and asked if there was a file on him. There was - a thick one. In this work Ash describes what was in the file, and the avenues personal, political and historical, which he was led down by it. The book begins autobiographically, but opens out to show how Ash tracked down and confronted those who once pursued and monitored him. He shows how it is impossible to establish the "truth" of history and how the way we act depends overwhelmingly upon the circumstances in which we are placed.

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Review:

When Timothy Garton Ash graduated from Oxford in 1978, he went to live in Berlin, ostensibly to research and write about Nazism. But once there, he gradually immersed himself in a study of the repressive political culture of East Germany. As if to return the favor, that culture--in the form of the dreaded East German secret police, the "Stasi"--secretly began studying him. As was Stasi's practice, over the years its study produced a considerable paper trail. After the fall of the East German communist regime, a government apparatus was established to allow those targeted to see their Stasi files, and Garton Ash discovered and pored over his. He then set about to interview the people who made this gross intrusion possible, the several case officers, and the numerous regular-citizen informers. The result is nothing short of a journey into the darkest recesses of the totalitarian mind, taking its place honorably alongside 1984 and Darkness at Noon.

From the Inside Flap:

"An invaluable document for our time, bravely and beautifully written. A chilling portrait of treachery and compromise that will not let me go."  
--John le Carré

In 1978, fresh out of Oxford, Timothy Garton Ash set out for Berlin to see what he could learn from the divided city about freedom and despotism. As he moved from west to east--from Berlin glamour to Berlin danger--the East German secret police, the so-called Stasi, was compiling a secret file on his activities, monitoring his Berlin days and nights and tracking his growing involvement with the Solidarity movement in Poland.

Fifteen years later, with the Wall torn down and Berlin now unified, Garton Ash visited Stasi headquarters to find his file. The thick dossier he was given forms the basis for this real-life thriller in which he traces and confronts the German friends and acquaintances who informed on him, and the officers who hired them. Behind Stasi reports of suspicious meetings we discover the love affairs, friendships, and formative intellectual encounters that actually occurred. And behind a baffling web of lies, half-truths, and forgotten stories we find a forty-year-old man spying on his younger self.

"Amid the ghost of secret Germany,"  he writes, "I was searching for the answer to a personal question: What is it that makes one person a resistance fighter and another the faithful servant of a dictatorship--this man a Stauffenberg, that a Speer?"  And he forces us to ask: Which would I be?

The File reads like a brilliant work of fiction by Graham Greene or George Orwell--but every word is true.

"The File is by far the wisest and most penetrating study of a communist informer society ever written by an outsider. "
--Neal Ascherson, The Independent

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ISBN 10: 0002558238 ISBN 13: 9780002558235
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Ash, Timothy Garton:
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Descripción HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1997. 8°, Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Gut. First Edition. 240 S. Dustjacket, good condition Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 711. Nº de ref. de la librería 393079

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Ash, Timothy Garton
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Descripción Harper Collins Publishers, London, 1997. Softcover. Reprint. Octavo Size [approx 15.5 x 22.8cm]. Very Good condition. 227 pages A personal search through his own file begins an investigation into the world of the Stasi - the East German Secret Police - which stretches as far as Britain. Nº de ref. de la librería 273910

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Garton Ash, Timothy.
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Descripción London: Harper Collins, 1997. First edition 8vo 226 pages Fine black cloth hard back with fine unclipped dust jacket. No inscriptions. Nº de ref. de la librería 12254

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Garton Ash, Timothy
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Descripción HarperCollins, London, 1997., 1997. 1st edition, hardback , 8vo, 226pp, clean and tight, no inscriptions, Very Good / Very Good dustwrapper. ISBN: 0002558238. Nº de ref. de la librería 215677

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GARTON ASH, Timothy
Editorial: HarperCollins, London (1997)
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Descripción HarperCollins, London, 1997. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Fine. Estado de la sobrecubierta: fine. First edition, first imp. pp. 227. Signs of light use, handling, only. Nº de ref. de la librería 00003390

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Descripción Paperback. Estado de conservación: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Nº de ref. de la librería GOR001200295

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Timothy Garston Ash
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Descripción Harper Collins, London, 1997. Cloth. Estado de conservación: Very Good. Estado de la sobrecubierta: Very Good. First Edition. Nº de ref. de la librería 000004

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Garton Ash, Timothy
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Descripción HarperCollins, London, 1997. Cloth. Estado de conservación: Good. Estado de la sobrecubierta: Good. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Nº de ref. de la librería 037488

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