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The Trouble with German Unification, Essays on Daniela Dahn, looks at Germany’s 20-year transition from socialism to capitalism

In his latest book, Rado Pribic, Williams Professor of Languages and chair of international affairs, addresses the varying perceptions throughout Europe and the United States of Germany’s unification process during the past two decades.

The book, The Trouble with German Unification, Essays on Daniela Dahn, will be released at the end of September by the German publishing house NoRa.

Through a combination of translation, analysis, and critique, Pribic highlights the works of East Berlin author and political/social activist Daniela Dahn. Well known throughout Germany, Dahn challenges conventional tenets regarding the country’s supposedly placid state of affairs since 1989.

Over the past four years, Pribic has traveled to Germany on numerous occasions for research. He has scoured through Dahn’s numerous publications and essays, as well as more than 3,000 personal letters.

He notes, “Dahn’s works challenge the euphoria of those praising the unexpectedly unified German state by rejecting platitudes and traditional delusions, such as notions of black vs. white, good vs. evil, and adjudicator vs. perpetrator, when comparing the Federal Republic and German Democratic Republic. According to her, the final chapter of the GDR legacy has not yet been written.”

Pribic’s interviews with German citizens and scholars confirm that many East Germans are disillusioned with the unfair treatment they sometimes receive and still do not trust the relatively new political and social system of the Federal Republic.

Pribic considers the themes of his book to be universal, stating, “By looking at the situation in Germany, one can also understand larger problems of unification, such as the issues faced by the European Union, as well as unification on the whole.”

Additionally, Pribic’s research has shown that most U.S. citizens are unaware of Germany’s sometimes turbulent social conditions and the realities of German daily life, largely because Dahn’s works, among others, are not translated to English until many years after publication, if at all.

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