Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Seduced By Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World by Kristie Macrakis

Yawn. I didn't think it was possible to make the first ever study of the infamous East German spy agency--the Stasi--boring but, yep, you can. Repetitious and overwritten (she tells us what "MfS" stands for in EVERY CHAPTER, for instance), Mackrakis's book just plots along and instead of presenting an extremely successful communist spy agency with all the built-in drama that comes with the espionage game, we get a history of gizmos, spooks, and traitors that has all the excitement of a piece of soggy lettuce. When you compare this book to the recent film The Lives of Others one wonders why Ms. Macrakis wasn't able to generate much enthusiasm in her readers when she had the whole paranoid history of the MfS (Ministry for State Security) at her disposal and all the film had was one dude in a room listening to people yet I was riveted. Strange...and too bad.

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