Imagine being forced to adopt an ideology that strips you of your political rights and plunges you into a life of despair and unending shortages. After the Second World War, the people of East Germany endured just such an appalling fate when socialism was forced upon them. Examining the effects of an oppressive and economically incompetent system, Sperlich presents a systematic review of post-war German history, with an emphasis on the founding of a communist state on German soil: the German Democratic Republic. He traces the imposition of communist rule, discussing the suppression of free elections and opposition to the infliction of a dictatorial one-party regime. He also explains what life was like for the East Germans who suffered under the restraints of socialism. The book ends with Sperlich's account of the "peaceful revolution" of 1989, which led to the reunification of the two German states. In considering the daily existence of the oppressed state of East Germany, Sperlich considers the failures of a massively unproductive "planned economy" (shored up by West German aid), the manipulation of public opinion and public discourse, the cult of personality, the lack of personal and social freedoms, and other blights on human dignity and happiness.