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

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

Tim Mohr

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’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

’Wildly entertaining . . . A joy in the way it brings back punk’s fury and high stakes’ Vogue


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.

’Original and inspiring . . . an important work of Cold War cultural history’ Wall Street Journal

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