After the Wall: Germany, the Germans and the Burdens of History

Marc Fisher, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (350p) ISBN 978-0-684-80291-6
Fisher, who lived in Germany between 1989 and 1994 as the Washington Post's bureau chief in Bonn and Berlin, here portrays Europe's political and economic giant as a self-doubting country that is sharply divided internally despite the reunification of 1990. Former East Germans, bewildered and disoriented, see themselves as second-class citizens, locked out of the prosperity enjoyed by the former West Germany and twice punished by the sociopathic ideologies of Nazism and communism. West Germans, in Fisher's perspective, craving order and stability, welcome government regulations controlling their everyday activities. Despite the country's public confrontation with its Nazi past of dictatorship and genocide, Fisher reports resurgent anti-Semitism at all levels of society and observes that many Germans see themselves as misunderstood victims. He also explores the xenophobic prejudice that erupted in violence against Asian, African, Turkish and Yugoslav immigrant workers, who are segregated in urban ghettos or ramshackle dormitories. Focusing on ordinary German individuals and families coping with historic change, Fisher has produced a highly perceptive look at Europe's superpower. First serial to Washington Post Magazine. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!