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Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  99 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 de ...more
Paperback, 660 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag (first published 1989)
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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 topp
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 di ...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 actu ...more
George K. Ilsley
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Having recently seen the German 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 Red Army Faction members while imprisoned.

Also, there is always a stock cha
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 ke
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 knowl
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 th ...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 M ...more
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 deve ...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; writ
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 an ...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 Rep ...more
i've found that speech is useless without an action.)) ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have seen a movie on this topic years ago and I thought it was very interesting. Back then I first came across this book, but for some reason didn’t read it and ended up waiting a decade or so before finally doing so.
Now that I’m done all I can say is that this is a very impressive book. I know it looks intimidating given its length, but picking it up is worthwhile nonetheless (and there even are pictures to get you through).

This is a very thorough account of the events surrounding the Red Ar
"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
Mandi | No Apathy Allowed
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-german
The first movie I saw in the theaters after moving to Germany in 2008 was Der Baader Meinhof Komplex. I honestly had never had any exposure to this part of German history and could only halfway follow what was happening. In the meantime, I’ve learned more about the Rote Armee Fraktion and was interested in reading the book which spurred on the film. It is a long, detailed, and somewhat dry retelling of history based on court, police, and other documents and interviews, including new information ...more
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 mistakes
Stephen McQuiggan
As tense and taut a page turner as any work of fiction. Aust tries to stay objective but, although it's clear he supports the official line of the Stammheim deaths, the evidence he throws up in its defence contradicts it, leaning more toward murder or state sanctioned enablement of the suicides at the very least. Ulrike casts a melancholy shadow throughout - never the dominant force the presence of her name in the so-called 'Baader Meinhof' gang would suggest, but rather full of doubt and self l ...more
Anna-Lena Dressman
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
albeit a very interesting insight not only into the political makings of this group, but also the political consciousness forming in Germany and the rest of the world post-WWII/during the Vietnam war, Aust sometimes fails to draw a coherent narrative. While we must forgive some of the „character“ and „plot“ flaws, as it is nonfiction, the reader is left with a multitude of questions about the where/what/who and, most of all, why. however, aust must be also be lauded for his ability to portray bo ...more
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 pla ...more
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.
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. ...more
Kevin Brady
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book that held me enrapt the whole way through. I felt like I was sitting with the author as he told me about the events, each day.

Learnt so much about the 60s und 70s of Germany that I had no idea of before.

Thomas Kanyak
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-war
Holger, the fight goes on!
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 ....
Dan Zilic
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
It's been a while but rarely has a book gripped me like this one. I've been fascinated with the Baader Meinhof Gang ever since and this book does a great job reporting about the times. ...more
Vesna Jusup
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute must
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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.

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