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Burning Down the Haus

Nonfiction: History, Music
Unabridged   11.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 09/11/2018

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Burning Down the Haus

Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684414642
Digital Download ISBN:9781684414659


Rollicking, cinematic, deeply researched, highly readable, and thrillingly topical, Burning Down the Haus brings to life the young men and women who successfully fought authoritarianism three chords at a time—and is a fiery testament to the irrepressible spirit of resistance.

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Product Description

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. The buzz-saw guitars, the messed-up clothing and hair, the rejection of society and the DIY approach to building a new one: In their gray surroundings, where everyone's future was preordained by some communist apparatchik, punk represented a revolutionary philosophy—quite literally, as it turned out.

But as the East German punks became more numerous, more visible, and more rebellious, security forces—including the dreaded secret police, the Stasi—targeted them. They were spied on by friends and even members of their own families; they were expelled from schools and jobs; they were beaten by police and imprisoned. Instead of backing down, the punks fought back, playing an indispensable role in the underground movements that helped bring down the Berlin Wall.

The story of East German punk rock is about much more than music; it is a spellbinding cultural and political history that also serves as a rallying cry against authoritarianism everywhere.


“This audiobook is an amazing piece of work. Narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies's delivery could only have been made better with snippets of the punk songs that inspired a generation to defy the tyranny of the East Berlin regime in the 1980s. Davies provides a sincere narration.” —AudioFile

“A thrilling and essential social history that details the rebellious youth movement that helped change the world.” —Rolling Stone

“British narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies's reading is personal, warm, and passionate as he reads a story full of individual threads and snippets of oral history.” —Library Journal Audio

“Lively . . . compelling . . . a front-row seat to the events of the ’80s. This take on punk evolution is engaging, enlightening, and well worth checking out.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Translator, editor, and former Berlin DJ Mohr energetically details the origins of East German punks . . . Mohr tells a frantic and exciting true story of music versus dictatorship, and the infamous wall it helped bring down.” —Booklist Starred Review

“An appealing, lively cultural history worth reading in an era of corporate punk nostalgia.” —Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Tim Mohr is an award-winning translator of authors including Alina Bronsky and Wolfgang Herrndorf. He has collaborated on memoirs by musicians Gil Scott-Heron, Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses, and Paul Stanley of KISS. His own writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, New York Magazine, and other publications.