The File by Timothy Garton Ash
A Personal History

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Synopsis

"Eloquent, aware and scrupulous . . . a rich and instructive examination of the Cold War past." --The New York Times

In 1978 a romantic young Englishman took up residence in Berlin to see what that divided city could teach him about tyranny and freedom. Fifteen years later Timothy Garton Ash--who was by then famous for his reportage of the downfall of communism in Central Europe--returned. This time he had come to look at a file that bore the code-name "Romeo." The file had been compiled by the Stasi, the East German secret police, with the assistance of dozens of informers. And it contained a meticulous record of Garton Ash's earlier life in Berlin.

In this memoir, Garton Ash describes what it was like to rediscover his younger self through the eyes of the Stasi, and then to go on to confront those who actually informed against him to the secret police. Moving from document to remembrance, from the offices of British intelligence to the living rooms of retired Stasi officers, The File is a personal narrative as gripping, as disquieting, and as morally provocative as any fiction by George Orwell or Graham Greene. And it is all true.

"In this painstaking, powerful unmasking of evil, the wretched face of tyranny is revealed." --Philadelphia Inquirer


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Timothy Garton Ash

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TIMOTHY GARTON ASH is the author of seven previous books of political writing and the "history of the present," which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last quarter century. They include "The Polish Revolution," "The Uses of Adversity," "The Magic Lantern," "The File, "and" History of the Present." He is currently director of the European Studies Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His essays appear regularly in "The New York Review of Books" and he writes a column in the "Guardian" that is syndicated across Europe and the Americas.
 
Published September 22, 2010 by Vintage. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Law & Philosophy, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The File

Kirkus Reviews

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A British historian has the eerie experience of reading the secret file kept on him by the Stasi, the East German secret police, and meeting with those who informed on him and the police who were responsible.

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The Guardian

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The File by Timothy Garton Ash Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop When Timothy Garton Ash spent time living in East Berlin as a young ma...

Jul 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The File: A Personal History

The Guardian

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The File by Timothy Garton Ash Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop The File is Timothy Garton Ash's compelling 1997 excavation of the Sta...

Aug 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The File: A Personal History

Publishers Weekly

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After German reunification, the government made public the files of East Germany's dreaded secret police, the Stasi. Any of the countless citizens who had been spied on could fill out a few forms and

Sep 01 1997 | Read Full Review of The File: A Personal History

Project MUSE

She reads the photocopies from his file, she cries, she half apologizes, she worries about being identifiable in his book: "Ah well, perhaps I can sue you and I'll win a lot of moneyNo, no, sorry, that was only a joke" (116) Garton Ash relates their meeting and dialogue to extrapolate the moral c...

| Read Full Review of The File: A Personal History

Project MUSE

She reads the photocopies from his file, she cries, she half apologizes, she worries about being identifiable in his book: "Ah well, perhaps I can sue you and I'll win a lot of moneyNo, no, sorry, that was only a joke" (116) Garton Ash relates their meeting and dialogue to extrapolate the moral c...

| Read Full Review of The File: A Personal History

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