With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 went the culture and identity of millions of people. Through the story of Michael Smith, an Australian who moved to East Germany in 1981, a different side of communism was shown, a more positive side focusing on the people who lived there, good people who had no ideological position. Michael married an East Berliner and began to raise a family. He further educated himself and became a teacher whereas he had been previously a mechanic. His life was fulfilling and satisfying; he succeeded in ways he could have never have hoped to in Australia. The fall of the wall brought his happiness to a crashing halt, especially because he had supported the protest for reform but feared a selling-out to the West. For him, the unification of Germany was an end and not a beginning. He could not reconcile that his happiness had been taken away from him by the West. His secret life as a Stasi (secret police) informer had him riddled with guilt. He uprooled his family back to Australia, and to a much better life than the one he had left behind, but not nearly as satisfying as it had been in East Germany.
Born near Perth, Australia, Campbell flirted with many careers before working for the Nelson Daily News in Western Canada. He worked for several newspapers in northern America and contributed to the Rough Guide Travel Book Series. Now, he has his own English teaching company based in Berlin.