Moritz von Uslar

On German Soil. A Participating Observation


On German Soil. A Participating Observation

Fontane Prize 2012
Voted as one of the best books 2013 by the Belgian newspaper De Standaard
Dutch translation nominated for the Groene Waterman Prijs/ Amsterdam

The reporter Moritz von Uslar drives into a small east-German town and lives there for three months. He hangs around the main street, frequents the pubs and bars and blends into the daily life of the town, listening, observing, recording and writing everything down.
His mission is to venture out into the east-German hinterland away from the big city, to see if there is a life there beyond the conventional clichés of welfare culture, alcoholism, depopulation and right-wing extremism.

In this participant-observation study, field research meets adventure novel – viewed through the prism of the reporter’s unerringly objective gaze. From the meticulous observations, the verbatim transcripts of conversations, the jokes, the slogans, the fantasies, the horseplay and the abundance of absurd, touching and terrifying everyday events, a vivid picture emerges which does not merely portray life, but renders it palpable to the reader. This is classic, yet at the same time, modern reporting.
Moritz von Uslar has the courage, resilience and reflective powers to show that reality is always a place lying well beyond expectations. He finds an alien world in our own country – not an hour’s car drive away from Berlin, but far beyond the conventional clichés and prejudices.

“This is the first modern book on east Germany. Moritz von Uslar is curious about the language, the posturing and the rituals of the people he meets in the ice-cream salons, the sports clubs and at night at the Aral service station where people hang out after everything else is closed. Nothing much happens really, but when observed through eyes such as his, when described so powerfully, and with such euphoric empathy, a mini-universe suddenly emerges. Welcome to an unknown country called Germany.” (Florian Illies)



ISBN: 978-3-462-04256-6
release: 23. September 2010
384 pages, gebunden mit SU


19,95 €
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20,60 €

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About the Author

Moritz von Uslar, born in Cologne in 1970, was an editor for the Süddeutsche-Zeitungs-Magazin and Der Spiegel and now works for Die Zeit. His books include 100 Questions for... (2004), Waldstein oder der Tod des Walter Gieseking am 6. Juni 2005 (“Waldstein or the Death of Walter Gieseking on 6 June 2005”, 2006), Deutschboden. Eine teilnehmende Beobachtung (“Deutschboden: A Participatory Observation”, 2010). Rights to his works have been sold to the Netherlands.