The East Germans -- close up; Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany, by Joel Agee. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc. $14.95.

The East Germans -- to me at least - have never emerged as a people. Thanks to the image their government tries to project, I see them as a gray, disciplined mass. Now along comes Joel Agee, who has lived among them, in a sense been one of them, to give faces to the faceless.

Joel's mother had left his father, James Agee the writer, married a German Communist, and moved to the village of Gross-Glienicke. There (and in East Berlin) Joel grew up as a German, thought as a German, and, when he rebelled, rebelled not against communism as such, but, like young intellectuals everywhere , against authority. His American citizenship went almost unnoticed by him and by his peers.

Unfortunately he seems more concerned with sharing his not-very-original preoccupation with sex than filling in our blanks about East Germany. He doesn't even spare us his fantasies. But readers willing to do a considerable amount of skipping will discover that, after all, he has given the people individuality and their countrys ide character.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK