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Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,164 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Gerade noch rechtzeitig, bevor sich das 68-er Jubiläumsjahr mit dem Kinostart des oskarverdächtigen Spielfilms Der Baader Meinhof Komplex zu Ende neigt, hat der Autor der Drehbuchvorlage, Stefan Aust, eine neue Version seines gleichnamigen Werkes von 1985 vorgelegt. Natürlich drängt sich bei diesem Timing der Verdacht auf, es ginge dem unlängst geschassten Chefredakteur ...more
Paperback, 660 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag (first published 1989)
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 ·  1,164 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Niklas Pivic
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The German avant-garde group Einstürzende Neubauten's name means "collapsing new buildings" in English; it points to a couple of relevant things as far as the RAF is concerned:

1. They were young, they collapsed.
2. The name can refer to the state of Germany - and/or its youths - to youths growing up just after the Second World War.

The RAF - also referred to as the Baader-Meinhof group - seems to me a desperate yet affectionate bunch of terrorists. They had strong political beliefs, wanted to
K.J. Pierce
I'd been eyeballing this book for months and decided to pick it up after I saw the movie (which was good, too, but left me with a ton of questions). My interest in the Red Army Faction goes back to my childhood growing up in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and a RAF-planted bomb exploding at the base in 1985. The book itself answered a ton of questions, but it was terribly difficult to get through. There is an overall sense of linear narrative, but the book seemed to bounce back and forth between ...more
Thomas Paul
I grew up with protests against the Vietnam War and with radical leftist organizations like the Weathermen and the RAF. The RAF were perhaps a little more mysterious because they were in far off and, at the time, divided Germany so I was always interested in them. When I discovered this book by Stefan Aust I was excited about the opportunity to read it. I was soon very disappointed. It’s not that there isn’t a lot of interesting information in the book. The problem is that the author didn’t ...more
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meticulously researched to the point of nearly drowning within the chaos of the terrorist activities of the Red Army Faction. This is a riveting account of how the idealism of opposing the rise of the right wing in 1960s and 1970s West Germany began to emulate the same atrocities and intolerance within its own ranks through an embrace of violent means. The RAF managed to unleash a wave of crime that forced the German authorities to modernize their means of investigation and prosecution. And for ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The subject was very interesting, but the book is only so-so. The author knew some of the late terrorists personally, but he decided to make a kind of exhaustive document with all the small facts.

That's not why I read such a book. I want to know about the broad developments instead of tiny facts. Explain how Baader and Meinhof came to the point of launching attacks against the state. Skip the tiny facts, skip most of the court stuff and get closer to the people. It's hard to read the book and
Hamuel Sunter
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Whatever quality Baader-Meinhof had that so captured a generation's imagination Aust fails to put into words. His squeamishness toward the details of ideology and his prudish streak made him a particularly bad chronicler.

I enjoyed learning that Steppenwolf had as outsize an impact on the members of the RAF as it did on me.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As you may expect, one of the most complete books you can get on history of the German Red Army Faction, but also on the political atmosphere that led to its creation, and the subsequent panic of the German state. The focus is on the first RAF generation (thus the title) and especially on Baader (and Baader's extremely manipulative personality).

Aust (more famous as having been the editor-in-chief for the SPIEGEL for 14 years) kept on returning to this book in subsequent editions adding new
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F." is an interesting and important book that explores the history of a group of self-described revolutionaries and their attempts at revolution in then West Germany. The primary focus of the book is on the founding members of the group called variously the Red Army Faction, the Baader-Meinhof group or the Baader-Meinhof gang (the first by the group itself, the latter two by supporters or detractors, respectively), a group that was active from 1970 ...more
George K. Ilsley
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Having recently seen the movie based on this book, I wanted to learn more about events I barely am able to remember. (The movie is very faithful to the book).

In this telling, we can glimpse the rise of the Big Brother surveillance state, as well as modern techniques for negotiating in hostage situations (ie never give them anything). Even modern prison systems seem designed to prevent things that happened with the RAF members while imprisoned.

Also, there is always a stock character in these
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A great book. This is how marxism-Leninism meets the nuthouse. And of course, this should happen in Germany, in the 70's. Amazing how the ideals and Utopias from the 60's gradually degenerate into a nonsense violent political movement with a very small number of members, none of them very sane from the head and, at the same time so influential. Those seeds are still blossoming today (black blocs are a good example) with a mix of anarchism, anti capitalism and violence. The book is very well ...more
Alexander Curran
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 7 July 2010 05:40 (A review of The Baader Meinhof Complex)

''Stop seeing them the way they weren't.''

A look at Germany's revolutionary group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s.

Martina Gedeck: Ulrike Meinhof

Moritz Bleibtreu: Andreas Baader

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex(English title: The Baader Meinhof Complex) is a 2008 German film by Uli Edel;
Stephen Nicholas
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, the questions left in my mind are: how much of the RAF terrorism was a reaction to American imperialism in Indochina; how much was due to the self absorption of the RAF members, and delusions of their own self importance; how much was down to the ineptitude of the German authorities; and what caused the "radicalization" (I know the word is anachronistic in this context) of these young people, was it societal anomie, was it youthful idealism, or was it a reaction against the claustrophobic ...more
A tough book to read, not only for its demanding and draining subject matter but also for the whirlwind pace at which Aust lays out the history of the RAF. Readers who are unfamiliar with the political climate of the 1960s may have some difficulty in understanding how the group could have drummed up such appeal and turned themselves into such a disruptive force, but this book should be read alongside any more general history of the 1960s and 1970s in Western Europe in general and the Federal ...more
i've found that speech is useless without an action.))
"This is the Auschwitz generation, and there's no arguing with them!" -- Gudrun Ensslin

From 1970 to 1977, the Red Army Faction (otherwise known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang) instigated one of the first major mass terrorist campagins that swept across West Germany as the fallout from the Vietnam War and the influence of the Counterculture upended any traditional remaining paradigm. Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Karl Rapse, and Ulrike Meinhof were the founding members and leading lights of one
Peter Pinkney
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The blurb, on the back of this book, says it reads like a thriller, and it certainly does, and what a thriller, I feel exhausted. The account of the hijacked plane is edge of the seat stuff.
I read this book because I had seen the film, and read John Le Carre's Absolute Friends which follows a similar storyline. I have political sympathies with what the Baader Meinhof group were trying to achieve, but they're actions are not what I would want-too many innocent people died. I do understand their
Bryan Mcquirk
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well documented and written story. I was too young to remember the RAF, and its initial operations in the early 70s. I do remember reading and hearing about the RAF in the news during the 80s. I had also heard the names Baader & Meinhoff as well. I just did not know the entire story...until now.
The author presents an incredibly detailed and interesting account of the times leading to the creation of the RAF, and its actions once formed.
The author also fairly portrays the multiple
Riel B.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
As gripping as a good suspense novel, this book offers a comprehensive history of the self-proclaimed "urban guerilla" organisation calling itself the Red Army Faction (RAF) from its founding in 1970 to its official dissolution in 1998, including its origins in the student movements of the 60s, its main players, aims, and crimes committed by its members and in its name. A fascinating piece of German history told by an author who was personally acquainted with several members of the group and ...more
Mark Capps
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely engrossing history of the Baader-Meinhof Group and the successor Red Army Faction. Short, pithy factual elements interwoven into a grand story about as accurate as Aust (a peripheral player in the drama himself) could make it. Long, but not an ounce of fat. A social history as much or more than a true-crime saga.
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting from an historical point of view. The cohesion of the book was sometimes difficult to find, but on the other hand, it's not a roman. So, all credits to Stefan Aust for the incredible research done on the RAF.
Henrik Uherkovich
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
gives you a good overview on the first generation of RAF terrorists ....
Thomas Kanyak
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-war
Holger, the fight goes on!
Extremely detailed account of Germany's urban guerilla Baader-Meinhof Group from its beginning in 1970 to the deaths of the original leaders in Stammheim in 1977. The group later known as the Red Army Faction continued its terrorism through the 80's and 90's, but this account focuses on the years 1970-77 from its inception with Baader, Ensslin, and Meinhof. Fascinating to read about how such a group came to be, their terrorist training in Jordan, how the police tried to catch them, and later the ...more
This is a disturbing book because it captures the horror of the violence of both the FDR government and subversives, along with all of the ambiguity of the political positioning of each. The book reads a bit choppy--like a series of news articles all put together in one book. The chapters vary widely in length and detail. The information is there, and it's overall quite detailed. But, as a non-German, I would have appreciated more context on the story--such as the significances of events taking ...more
Christopher Saunders
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stefan Aust presents a remarkable portrait of the Red Army Faction, West Germany's most successful left-wing terrorist movement. Aust shows the RAF born of outrages like the police murder of Benno Ohnesorg, an assassination attempt on radical leader Rudi Dutschke and American military bases throughout the country. He profiles Andreas Baader, rootless anarchist-turned-urban guerrilla; Gudrun Esslin, the ferocious pastor's daughter who achieved "a state of euphoria" through terrorism; and Ulrike ...more
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course I saw the film first, because I didn't know anything about the RAF at all before the film, but after seeing it--and it's really great, incidentally--I had to know everything I could about it. This book is really quite good. I'd give it five stars except it's a little choppy in places, and could've been a bit clearer in some of its explanation of the timeline, but I appreciated how plainly Aust tried to tell the story with as little judgment as possible, on either side. I still cannot ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stefan Aust's Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. is probably as good a narrative of these confusing events as we are ever going to get. Using a journalistic and chronological fact-driven approach, Aust delivers the core points of the narrative without dwelling on excessive historical analysis - that task is largely left to the reader (and quite correctly so). [return][return]In the end, the point of the story is illuminating, depressing, and still quite relevant to the contemporary ...more
If you haven't seen the movie yet, just watch that. It covers the same material in much less time.

If you have seen the movie and want more information about the political philosophy or the social circumstances (institutional sexism/feminism, post WWII reconstruction, etc.) that lead to the creation of the RAF, you won't find it here. The author seems to have deliberately eschewed almost any analysis in order to be unbiased in his painstakingly detailed recreation of events.

However, Aust does
May 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Smart, committed and murderous people are interesting to read about. I was a military policeman in Germany in the mid-80's and remember memorizing pictures of the last wave of RAF members. Responded to their bomb threats as well. I recall how the wanted posters had fewer and fewer members each time they were reprinted, which was fine by me, as they were intent on murdering US servicemen during this period.

Anyway, the book is entertaining, and tends to jump around quite a bit. One can tell this
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Stefan Aust (born 1 July 1946 in Stade, Lower Saxony) is a German journalist and was the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel from 1994 to February 2008.