Research behind This Terrible Beauty

(map at bottom)

Authors often write about times and places they haven't experienced firsthand. We have a responsibility to do our research in order to understand the political and social complexities of the era, but just as importantly research helps us build a world that is specific and authentic. I turned to countless books and movies to help me understand the Cold War era and to learn, as best I could, about the texture of life during that time.

Here is a partial list of resources you might enjoy if you're interested in learning more.

Twelve Years, by Joel Agee
Stasiland, by Anna Funder
The File, by Timothy Garton Ash
After the Reich, by Giles MacDonogh
After the Wall, by Jana Hensel
The German Trauma, by Gitta Sereny
The Rise and Fall of the GDR, by Feiwel Kupferberg
Requiem for a German Past, by Jurgen Herbst
German Boy, by Wolfgang Samuel

The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
In Times of Fading Light, by Eugen Ruge
Simple Stories, by Ingo Schulze
Crabwalk, by Gunter Grass
The Wall Jumper, by Peter Schneider
The Dark Room, by Rachel Seiffert
The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
Fire in the Blood, by Irene Nemirovsky
Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

IMAGES & ARTICLES (select links)
German Propaganda Archive at Calvin University
1962 New Yorker article on the Wall: Die Mauer
Vintage photos of the Wall
The East German Literary Debate
Constructing East German Literature
CIA film on Communist East Germany and the Iron Curtain (1960)
Auferstanden aus Ruinen: GDR National Anthem (with images)

The Lives of Others
Deutschland 83
Goodbye Lenin
The Legend of Rita