The East German Handbook
The East German collection of the Wende Museum. Die DDR-Sammlung des WendemuseumsArts and Artifacts from te GDR.Kunst und Alltagsgegenstände aus der DDRThis special two-language edition comes with texts both in English and German.For 40 years, the Cold War dominated the world stage. East and West Germany stood at the frontlines of the global confrontation, symbolized by the infamous Berlin Wall, which separated lovers, friends, and families, coworkers and compatriots.The Wende Museum in Los Angeles, California, is named after the period of change following the wall's destruction. It was established in 2002 to study the visual and material culture of the former Eastern Bloc, and, with physical and psychic distance, to foster multiple perspectives on this multilayered history that continues to shape our world.This encyclopedic volume features over 2500 items from its extraordinary collections. Never before has a book included this full a spectrum of art, archives, and artifacts from socialist East Germany: official symbols and dissident expressions, the spectacular and the routine, the mass-produced and the handmade, the funny and the tragic. Packaged in a slick, portable box, the book also comes with a facsimile of a GDR family scrapbook, documenting real and imagined travels both within East Germany, and across the border.Accompanying these remnants of a now-vanished world are texts from scholars and specialists from across Europe, Canada, and the United States, with themes ranging from the secret police to sexuality, from monuments to mental-mapping.More than 900 pages, featuring over 2500 objects.Color-coded tabs for swift navigation throughout the eight main chapters.Most comprehensive overview of GDR visual and material culture to date.Several dozen images of everyday life and public events from the most famous GDR photographers.Bonus material inside the handy shipping box: 56-page facsimile of a GDR family scrapbook, documenting real and imagined travels both in East Germany, and across the border.Enhanced, multimedia content, providing original videos and audio recordings from the GDR.

The East German Handbook Details

TitleThe East German Handbook
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 1st, 2017
PublisherTaschen
ISBN-139783836571883
Rating
GenreArt

The East German Handbook Review

  • Michael Scott
    January 1, 1970
    + Book about the Wende Museum (the German Reintegration Museum) in... L. A., California, USA.+++ Excellent source material for that day when I will make a game about the horrors of communism. + The usual assortment of goods, objects, (East-German) Communist paraphenalia, all of which would be well known to the former Eastern Bloc resident. They will also see familiar to, but their meaning could easily be lost on, the Western visitor to Vommunist-themed musea in current Berlin. How can you unders + Book about the Wende Museum (the German Reintegration Museum) in... L. A., California, USA.+++ Excellent source material for that day when I will make a game about the horrors of communism. + The usual assortment of goods, objects, (East-German) Communist paraphenalia, all of which would be well known to the former Eastern Bloc resident. They will also see familiar to, but their meaning could easily be lost on, the Western visitor to Vommunist-themed musea in current Berlin. How can you understand the meaning of a life in plastic? (Hint: there were too few natural resources in East Germany, so the manufacturing industry had to make due with plastics, which thus acquired Party backing and became a preferred material in public discourse.) ++ Some of the better material, covering the movement of people inside East Germany and, for the chief-informants and Stachanovist-workers (uber-workers, Employee of the Year type) in the Eastern Bloc, including to (the now defunct) USSR, (the now defunct) Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. (For the Romanian in me: there was even room for a Cotnari ad!) +++ Excellent, succint text explaining various aspects of life under the Communist regime in East Germany. Some of the text covers aspects little known to the outsider, such as the intra-culture revolution when coffee got rationed (1977, due to a drop of produce in the world coffee market), the personal and work-collective scrapbooks, the ubiquitous hope in lotto (state lottery), the maps carefully crafted to avoid the Western locations and names, the state fight for IP rights on the Lufthansa name, the surprisingly good technology and especially computer (Robotron) programmes (but the book does not acknowledge the level of intellectual theft this technology was built on), etc. ++ We also get the boad-strokes through which the Central Planning Bureau, more or less subservient to the Russian regime, was trying to control the small-world of East Germany: the internal police, the state-controlled arts and crafts, the (re)building program that brought everyone to the city (surprisingly, against Russian desire to make Germany a country of peasants, thus unable to start a new world war), the armed forces hidden behind the guise of peace, the depiction of American imperialism, the focus on sports (and, like the 2000s Russia, on state-sponsored doping), etc. -- The murderous regime gets a bit of a free-ride, and the dark undertones appear only when the book addresses the ubiquitous alcoholism and personal hide-outs available to (pseudo-)intellectuals.
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