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State of Secrecy
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About the Author

ALISON LEWIS is Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Reviews

"Lewis's engaging prose brings informers and agents to life and provides an authentic glimpse into the lives, relationships, and power dynamics that operated behind the scenes of the notorious--and oft-misunderstood--East German culture of surveillance."--Melissa Sheedy, German Studies Review
"Concentrating on a handful of writers who spied on their comrades, Lewis (Univ. of Melbourne, Australia) provides extensive insight into the operations of Eastern Europe's most extensive surveillance state."--R. W. Lemmons, Choice
"A State of Secrecy is a compelling work that anyone interested in the GDR must read. With a balance of patient, in-depth research, ruthlessly clearsighted analysis, and psychological intuition, Alison Lewis lays bare the dynamics of secrecy in the GDR, but more important, the mechanisms that sustain totalitarianism in the modern world. An intellectual tour de force and a read as gripping as the extraordinary stories contained within it."--Karen Leeder, professor of modern German literature at New College, Oxford
"A State of Secrecy presents an inside look into the East German Ministry for State Security and its employment of writers as unofficial collaborators. Alison Lewis traces the intersecting biographies of five Stasi collaborators across the spectrum of informers deployed in the area of literature and culture. By presenting in-depth portraits of these personalities and the different kinds of surveillance they were involved in, A State of Secrecy paints a fabulous picture of a collective biography of Stasi informers within the cultural sphere, their motivations, and their justifications, clearly explicating how the Stasi used humane forms of surveillance to control and curtail cultural expression for nearly forty years."--Carol Anne Costabile-Heming, professor of German at the University of North Texas
"Carefully fording the gaps inherent in secret police files, Alison Lewis tells fascinating Cold War stories about Stasi informers who were instrumental in influencing literary production and policing culture in East Germany. Extensively researched, A State of Secrecy is an important book that shines a light on the shadowy double lives of agents who were saddled with secrets. It exposes the extent of their collaboration and surveillance activities, as well as their habitus, motivation, and recompenses."--Valentina Glajar, professor of German at Texas State University
"In telling the story of five informers, Alison Lewis reveals the culture of surveillance that the Stasi purposefully created and emphasizes the ways in which the Stasi used this particular group of informers as an instrument of the state's cultural diplomacy and as a weapon in the war against the subversive activities of the West, particularly West Germany. . . . Eloquent."--Mary Kathryn Barbier, author of Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals
"This is the validation of Alison Lewis's remarkable ability to extract meaning from East Germany's Stasi files and to convey the insights she's gained to her readers in an enthralling manner. For readers discovering her writing now, A State of Secrecy will be an eye-opener. . . . This book is indispensable reading for all Cold War buffs."--Corina L. Petrescu, associate professor of German at the University of Mississippi

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