This classic of modern reportage by one of Britain's most
distinguished non-fiction writers describes what happened when he
got access to the file on him kept during his years in East Germany
by the Stasi, the infamous secret police. 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.
"* 'He is our best informed and beadiest commentator on Europe - eloquent, sceptical, fearless, with a tinge of idealism so wary as to be acceptable' - Craig Raine * 'Garton Ash is, in the most literal sense of the term, a contemporary historian. He writes primarily as a witness to the events he is treating, and not just as an outside witness but often as an inside one as well... yet the sense of the historic dimensionof the events in question is never lost. And the quality of the writing places it clearly in the category of good literature.' - George F. Kennan, New York Review of Books"
Timothy Garton Ash, geboren 1955, lehrt Zeitgeschichte am St. Antony's College in Oxford und schreibt regelmäßig für verschiedene amerikanische und europäische Zeitschriften.