It began with a handful of East Berlin teens who heard the Sex Pistols on a British military radio broadcast to troops in West Berlin, and it ended with the collapse of the East German dictatorship. Punk rock was a life-changing discovery. The buzz-saw guitars, the messed-up clothing and hair, the rejection of society and the DIY approach to building a new one: In their gray surroundings, where everyone's future was preordained by some communist apparatchik, punk represented a revolutionary philosophy-quite literally, as it turned out. But as the East German punks became more numerous, more visible, and more rebellious, security forces-including the dreaded secret police, the Stasi-targeted them. They were spied on by friends and even members of their own families; they were expelled from schools and jobs; they were beaten by police and imprisoned. Instead of backing down, the punks fought back, playing an indispensable role in the underground movements that helped bring down the Berlin Wall. The story of East German punk rock is about much more than music; it is a spellbinding cultural and political history that also serves as a rallying cry against authoritarianism everywhere.