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Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF


Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF Cover

ISBN13: 9780195372755
ISBN10: 0195372751
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Synopses & Reviews

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The Baader-Meinhof Group--later known as the Red Army Faction (RAF)--was a violent urban guerilla group which terrorized Germany in the 1970s and '80s, killing 47 people, wounding 93, taking 162 hostages, and robbing 35 banks--all in an attempt to bring revolution to the Federal Republic.

Stefan Aust's masterful history of the Group presents the definitive account, capturing a highly complex story both accurately and colorfully. Much new information has surfaced since the mass suicide of the Groups' leaders in the 1980s. Some RAF members have come forward to testify in new investigations and formerly classified Stasi documents have been made public since the fall of the Berlin Wall, all contributing to a fuller picture of the RAF and the events surrounding their demise. Aust presents the complete history of the RAF, from the creation in 1970 to the breakup in 1998, incorporating all of the new information. For instance, there is growing evidence that the German secret service eavesdropped on Baader, Meinhof, and the other RAF members imprisoned in Stammheim and that they knew that the terrorists planned a mass suicide, but did nothing to prevent it. Also, there is new information about the role of the RAF lawyers (among them Otto Schily who later was Minister of the Interior in Gerhard Schröder's cabinet), and the roles of the different RAF members and the rivalry between them. The volume will also contain numerous photos.

Terrorism today is never far from most people's thoughts. Baader-Meinhof offers a gripping account of one of the most violent terrorist groups of the late twentieth century, in a compelling look at what they did, why they did it, and how they were brought to justice.


Before 9/11, before terrorism took on a foreign face, there was terror chic: the Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Black Panthers, the Baader-Meinhof Gang. This was intellectualized, secular terror of the sort that college radicals could embrace as others of their generation found thrills in rock music or fast cars.

In West Germany in the 1960s and '70s, memories... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

Stefan Aust is a journalist and editor living in Germany. He has been chief editor of Spiegel TV, and was chief editor of Der Spiegel in Hamburg from 1994-2008. Aust is co-writer of the film script for the German movie Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, which released in Germany in Fall 2008 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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takingadayoff, April 13, 2009 (view all comments by takingadayoff)
When the Baader-Meinhof group declared war on the West German state in the 1970s—setting fire to department stores, robbing banks, setting off bombs, assassinating politicians, killing police officers, taking hostages, and kidnapping and murdering industrialist Hans-Martin Schleyer—German writer Heinrich Böll said they were six terrorists against sixty million West Germans.

Stefan Aust's thriller-like history of RAF terrorism and West Germany's response to it (in a translation by Anthea Bell so smooth you forget the book wasn't written in English) tells of lawyers who smuggled electronic equipment and weapons into their clients' prison cells, and of people who felt honor-bound to help members of the RAF when they were on the run.

This book will be interesting to anyone who liked the German film The Legend of Rita, directed by Volker Schlöndorff, or the British miniseries Die Kinder, written by Paula Milne. Both are fictional stories about characters like the Baader-Meinhof group, and both are worth looking for if you haven't seen them.
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Product Details

The Inside Story of the R.A.F.
Aust, Stefan
Bell, Anthea
null, Anthea
Bell, Anthea
null, Stefan
Oxford University Press
Europe - Germany
Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Rote Armee Fraktion
Communists -- Germany (West)
Europe - General
History, World | European | Germany
World History-Germany
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6.3 x 9.3 x 1.4 n 1.794 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Modern Germany
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General

Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF New Hardcover
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Product details 480 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195372755 Reviews:
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