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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

3.9 out of 5
5 Stars
6 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
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3 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Intelligent, fast paced

    I loved this intelligent, fast paced political thriller set in the not too distant past! The main character is great and the writing paints a picture of a world which has long gone. The suspense does get ramped up throughout the book which kept me reading. I loved this novel!

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • Stealing the future

    I just could not get into this story. I’m not into political books and was getting confused just a few pages in. I’m sure it appeals to others, just not me.

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    0 person found this review helpful

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  • Perfect mixture

    What could popular political participation actually look like? We're so used to our established democratic institutions that even if we feel that these institutions are in fact dominated by economic powers and social hierarchies, we have a hard time imagining different systems of social organisation that allow people to discuss and collectively shape the things that matter in their lives. Hertzberg's Stealing the Future addresses this question in the context of a crime thriller (which is an exciting read in its own right). The story is set in a counter-factual Berlin in 1993 in which the GDR still exists – but in a completely different form than the one we knew from before 1989. Hertzberg describes a country in which the grassroots opposition movement has pulled off a successful social revolution and prevented a merger with Westgermany. A few years later, this society is still in the middle of this transformation, struggling to organise the necessities of life as well as to protect itself from outside – and inside – powers that seek to undermine its aims. Being a crime thriller, the book starts with a murder that needs to be solved. In the course of the investigation run by former dissident Martin Grobe, we meet West German students, East German punks, British officers, Russian agents and – maybe – former Stasi spies. All in all it is a perfect mixture: a good story, well-researched history, interesting political ideas, and some quite touching scenes as well. I highly recommend it!

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  • Excellent period specific crime & political drama

    I had come from reading the David Downing WWII series (John Russell) which covers Berlin and the rise of the Soviet Eastern state from the 30s through the late 40s. Given a gap of time from 1948 to 1993, by which time the Wall had been built and fallen again, Gorbachev was fighting for political survival in the USSR, the leadership of the GDR was overthrown and a new proletarian self-determining society was in place, this is a 'next step' in the unfolding of the East Berlin/East German state. The conflict of the Ossies v. the Wessies; the failure of Chancellor Kohl's first attempt at unification. Fascinating descriptions of period physical and political development post the fall of the Wall in 1989 with a personable character as the narrator and a murder to investigate. Very satisfying. 4 stars because the period ethos is so realistically drab - they get excited about a few cans of coloured paint - not grey or brown as mandated by the previous soviet authorities. This era lasted only a few years until full reunification and has largely been forgotten in the west.

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