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Burning Down the Haus Reviews

Burning Down the Haus by Tim Mohr

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

Tim Mohr

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Dialogue Books
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 26 Sep 2019
ISBN: 9780349701318

An extraordinary history of the punk movement in East Germany, perfectly timed for the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 3 October 2019.

3 stars out of 5
Jude Rogers
8 Nov 2019

"Tim Mohr’s history of East German punk is full of vivid characters and raging teenagers."

Early on, the book feels overly detailed and slow, but as the late 1980s arrive, you sense this approach had a dual purpose: to show the relentless oppression the punks survived, and how gradual changes drive revolution. Mohr also points out events considered significant by outsiders that felt different within the city. After Ronald Reagan stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, asking Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”, the footage was everywhere in the UK. His visit got little media coverage in West Germany. “No one either side of the Wall gave a fuck,” Mohr writes, bluntly. Other late-1980s East Berlin stories are given more attention, such as neo-fascist violence, which meets little official response: “Law enforcement officers of this officially anti-fascist state stood by as skinheads shouted Nazi slogans and pummelled people on the street.” It was the punks who were being attacked.