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  • Dialogue Books

Burning Down The Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Tim Mohr

4 Reviews

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An extraordinary history of the punk movement in East Germany, perfectly timed for the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 3 October 2019.

'Mohr digs into the subject of East German punk like nobody before' Rolling Stone Germany

Tim Mohr brings us the secret history of punks in East Germany. Burning Down the Haus is a reclamation and an exaltation of youth culture and idealism as not only an instigator for discourse, but as an actual catalyst for political upheaval and radical change.

It began with a handful of East Berlin teens who heard the Sex Pistols on a British military radio broadcast to troops in West Berlin, and it ended with the collapse of the East German dictatorship. Punk rock was a life-changing discovery: in an authoritarian state where the future was preordained, punk, with its rejection of society and DIY approach to building a new one, planted the seeds for revolution.

As these kids began to form bands, they also became more visible, and security forces - including the dreaded secret police, the Stasi - targeted them. They were spied on by friends and family; they were expelled from schools and fired from jobs; they were beaten by police and imprisoned. But instead of conforming, the punks fought back, playing an indispensable role in the underground movement that helped bring down the Berlin Wall.

Rollicking, cinematic and thrillingly topical, this secret history brings to life the young men and women who successfully fought authoritarianism three chords at a time. Burning Down the Haus is a fiery testament to the irrepressible spirit of revolution.

'Burning Down the Haus is not just an immersion into the punk rock scene of East Berlin, it's the story of the cultural and political battles that have shaped the world we live in today' DW Gibson, author of The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century

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Praise for Burning Down The Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • Wildly entertaining . . . A thrilling tale . . . A joy in the way it brings back punk's fury and high stakes - Vogue

  • Original and inspiring . . . Mohr has written an important work of Cold War cultural history - Wall Street Journal

  • A thrilling and essential social history that details the rebellious youth movement that helped change the world - Rolling Stone

  • [A] riveting and inspiring history of punk's hard-fought struggle in East Germany - New York Times Book Review

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