The File

By Timothy Garton Ash,

Book cover of The File: A Personal History

Book description

In 1978 Timothy Garton Ash went to live in Berlin to see what that divided city could teach him about tyranny and freedom. Fifteen years later, by then internationally famous for his reportage of the downfall of communism in Central Europe, he returned to look at his Stasi file which…


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Why read it?

1 author picked The File as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Although it reads like a spy novel, this is the real-life account of a noted English journalist’s encounter with his own Stasi surveillance file. The file in question was compiled in the early 1980s by the East German secret police on Garton Ash (code name “Romeo”), then a young man living in Berlin and writing about Central European communism. Garton Ash opened his file fifteen years later, after the former German Democratic Republic made Stasi records accessible. Tracking those who tailed him, the book explores the uneasy sensation of reading one’s past life through the photographs, informant reports, surveillance notes,…

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