Allen Lane has pre-empted Beyond the Wall by Katja Hoyer, a "thrilling" new history of East Germany.
Casiana Ionita, publishing director at Penguin Press, pre-empted world all language rights from Toby Mundy at Aevitas Creative Management UK. The book will publish in hardback in spring 2023.
The publisher said: "In 1990, a country disappeared. For the previous 41 years, East Germany had existed in Western minds as more of a metaphor for the Communist Bloc than a real place. And yet, despite the Stalinist orientation of its founding father, the GDR was not a mere Soviet satellite. It had its own identity right from the start – and it weaved a distinct strand into the German national narrative, the effects of which are still felt keenly today.
"In Beyond the Wall, acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer brings to life the history of the GDR as never before. From the ashes of the Second World War to the fall of the USSR, this is the definitive new story of the other Germany."
Hoyer is a German-British historian specialising in modern German history and the author of the widely acclaimed Blood and Iron (The History Press). She is a member of the Royal Historical Society, and has written for the Spectator, Unherd, History Today, and BBC History Extra.
Speaking about her new book, she said: “Millions of Germans alive today were born in a country that does not exist anymore. Their world fell with the Berlin Wall in 1989, and others have since shaped its legacy. The West remembers the GDR as a grey, monotonous blur; a walled-off Russian colony, controlled by the Stasi. This simplification denies East Germans agency. They lived and shaped a distinctly German experiment that lasted four decades. Their story needs a place in the national narrative rather than being relegated to a footnote in Cold War history. With 30 years of distance, I want to turn around, take a fresh look at the GDR, and paint its picture in full colour, not black and white."
Ionita added: “‘Katja Hoyer's brilliant debut, Blood and Iron, has established her as one of the leading historians of her generation. Only she could write a new history of East Germany that ranges widely across archives and personal stories to paint a nuanced picture of lived experience that transcends the usual Cold War narrative. Beyond the Wall is bound to be a thrilling book that will upend everything we think we know about the GDR. We are delighted to welcome her to Allen Lane."
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