For the 19 years or so that I lived through the Cold War, the main belligerent was the Soviet Union. East Germany was pretty much ignored for me except for the "Wall" the dividing symbol between East and West. This book is the Soviet state, East German's story.
I've read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, life in the Gulags, living repressed. In some ways the stories are the same, but it is also about making sense of these individual stories in East Germany after the "Wall" has come down.
It is also about the officers, the Stasi police, their lament over the good old days now gone with the fall of the "Wall", and others who seem to have genuine remorse.
It is good for while reading the book to be reminded of how lucky I am. That I can have a different political opinion and not be the "Enemy" of your country.