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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. Book Review

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Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. Book Review

About the Book: 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 Schroder'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.

Our Take: The RAF is an infamous group that formed back in 1970.  The Red Army Faction is associated with Baader and Meinhof, two of the groups organizers.  A recent film, the Baader-Meinhof Complex, brought this legendary revolutionary group to light for many of us in the west that many not be as familiar with it as those in Germany.

There are a great many books on the Baader-Meinhof complex and the Red Army Faction.  In fact, we just reviewed one here on Book Legion back in May.  It was a great book, but what sets this one apart from that and the others out there is most definately the author.  This is truly the INSIDE story of the Red Army Faction.  Stefan Aust was involved with Baader and Meinhof from the days of writing in a subversive underground paper and he was tied to members of the group all through the events that unfolded.   His perspectives and insights into what happened, not to speak of his memories, are invaluable in putting together the picture of this historic and much glamorized series of events.

This book is the absolute end-all when it comes to the Red Army Faction.   Its a must-read!